Wednesday, June 30, 2010

It's All Going Wrong...Right Now

Isn't it amazing how when a team is struggling- in baseball- NOTHING goes right. A flair hangs up for a player lumbering (slightly faster than Bengie Molina running downhill) but miraculously still manages to catch-up to the ball before it lands. Yet when a batter is hot that ball not only lands safely it BOINGS on by the fielder for extra bases. (Yes, even Bengie gets another 90 feet.)

Holy Cow!

And when you root for a team like the San Francisco Giants you pay close attention to the pitching, since it's the backbone of the club. While watching the game you can't help but notice how different umpires call balls and strikes. How it's the same strike zone in the rule book but every single umpire has his own interpretation of what he deems to be a strike. And that same umpire can change it batter-to-batter, inning-to-inning, gradually increase the zone as the game dictates or shrink it based on the amount of flak he may be getting from either or both benches. (Depending on their interpretation of the home plate umpire's interpretation of what a STRIKE is.)

Umpires aren't likely to admit this but they all see each pitcher differently. One pitcher is throwing the ball that is easier to read than the other, therefore that pitcher is likely to be the benefactor of more strikes called than the pitcher with the sweeping curve or nasty breaking pitch. In other words, each pitcher is likely to have his own strike zone which is something the catcher must detest. (Seeing as how when he squats down to receive a pitch the umpire sees the ball in a different manner than when he's up to bat.)

When you have a team built around pitching it's tough not to notice this because it's as commonplace as the peanut or hot dog vendor at the ballgame. It's well, in a word, inevitable.

What I have a problem with is this unwritten rule of the umpires. The don't show me up rule. It gives them carte blanche to do whatever the heck they want to do. It turns them into the abusive, power-starved want-to-bes all umpires must feel like since they weren't good enough to make a minor league roster, let alone a major league roster. (I apologize to those few exceptions who did crack a minor league roster.)

In the June 30, 2010 game between the Dodgers and Giants at AT&T, the home plate umpire was Tom Hallion. What is his deal? Does he like to see himself on ESPN's Baseball Tonight?

His strike zone is horrendous and his STRIKE THREE call is equally appalling. Just who in the hell does this clown think he is? He called Buster Posey out twice when neither pitch was at knee level. In fact, according to Giants' announcer Jon Miller, most of the strikeouts in the game were on called third strikes. This guy can't wait for ESPN's Baseball Tonight. This clown (peyaso to Gigantes fans) is going out of his way to make someone's highlight reel. And, quite frankly, for all the wrong reasons. Because upon further review you can see just how badly he missed the called third strike.

I know, the Giants are struggling mightily. And due to the fact they don't score many runs things tend to get magnified, but this bunk with the umpires elicits the heckler in me.

As long as the Giants continue to struggle you can expect a narrow-sighted fellow calling balls and strikes. Because that's just the way baseball is allowed to be played by the powers that be.
No fines for the men in blue, only those who make suggestions or remarks regarding those attitudes-in-blue.

In life justice is blind. It is especially short-sighted in baseball.

(Each Giants' game begins with Dave Fleming saying, "Now crack open a Bud, it's game time." But the baseball owners, managers, players and coaches don't believe in Bud Selig.)

Kevin Marquez