Monday, August 18, 2008

Forget the Fat Lady Singing, It'll be Porky signing off: "That's All Folks!"

On the Comcast broadcast of the Giants/Braves game, August 15, 2008, the first base umpire, Lance Barksdale had blown a couple of calls. After the second gem of a miss, wiseguy color commentator, Mike Krukow, spouted off how 'tomorrow may be a long night for the Giants with Barksdale behind the plate because history shows Lance Barksdale has his roughest games against the San Francisco Giants.'

Krukow went on to say that, ' the Giants are a team he has had bad luck against."

Originally scheduled for the game was Jonathan Sanchez, a pitcher I think has some difficulty with home plate umpires who don't establish the strike zone and display an arrogant attitude while missing pitch after every other pitch.

But as luck would have it, Sanchez would miss his turn due to an injury so Matt Palmer, a pitcher who has played his whole professional career in the minor leagues and was now finally making his debut in the major leagues, was called up to pitch his first major league game with Barksdale behind the plate. Gee, all of those bus trips and sleepless nights wondering if he was ever going to make it and he gets a clown like Barksdale behind the plate for his first major league game.

What did Krukow mean, had his roughest games against the Giants. Did someone, on the Giants' bench at some time during Lance Barksdale's career, call Barksdale "Barkie" from the bench and it touched a nerve? Because as August 16th rolled around and Matt Palmer took the mound what you saw was a strike zone that was far different for the Giants than it was for the Braves. And as the game entered the late innings, Barkie, was calling anything close a strike. Just the way it's written in the unwritten rules of calling balls and strikes in the Major Leagues. A book not yet in print, as far as I know! (Now I'm the wiseguy.)

Final score: Braves-11 Giants-4.

Most of the players in the major leagues belong. (Due to the expansion of so many teams the talent level has diluted over the years. You can see poor baserunning and lack of execution on any given day and it's because players aren't seasoned the way they were when there were only 12 teams. Back then, guys who played their whole careers in the minor leagues would be considered stars today. Or at least they'd sign the million dollar contract.)

But I'm really thinking the term major league is antiquated. Becoming almost obsolete by the actions, however appalling, seen time after time in the major leagues. It could be a player misbehaving or an umpire misbehaving or even an owner misbehaving, take your pick. And there's no place for any of the aforementioned but we fans like going to the yard and our tolerance levels are accepting of such behaviors. Now. But I think some day, when is anybody's guess, some people are just going to say the heck with Major League baseball because they will have reached that tolerance level.

And when the time comes, I'm sure I'll be in a box in the dirt or ashes into the wind or perhaps even in a gutter near you, but the fat lady aint gonna be singing. For this one, the popular animated Warner Brothers cartoon character, Porky Pig, will be the perfect spokesperson-pig, for all dissatisfied customers concerned, when he stutters, "Ebb-a-ebb-a-ebb-a-ebba, That's All Folks!"

Kevin Marquez