Saturday, October 4, 2014

Bad for Baseball

When I am following a ballgame on the radio I make it a point to follow the announcer's lead. Hear what it is that is catching the speaker's interest, because he is "at the game" and hopefully his description is filling-in-the-blanks of any fan who is also 'at the game' but wants some in-depth explanation about what it is he/she is seeing between the foul lines.

Now in this day and age of constantly advertising for a Subway play of the day or the Toyota call of the game or the Hawaiian Airline tip of the day, e.g. from Richard Pryor: My uncle had said, "Boy, don't you ever kiss no pussy. I mean that! Whatever you do in life, don't kiss no pussy. So I couldn't wait to kiss the pussy, since he'd been wrong about everything else!" And that's your tip of the day...

Anywho, we all know the major leagues has the best ballplayers in the world. Why can't we say that about the umpires? Every game there is a home plate, first base, second base and third base umpire. And with every crew it always seems like 2 of its members have an idea about what a strike is while the other two give the impression they are guessing. Am I right?

I think it is painfully obvious in the playoffs who has a consistent strike zone that benefits the game, not the pitcher or the hitter, as in 'he has a pitcher's strike zone' or with Laz Diaz in the Giants/Nationals first game, if you don't call the corners and the pitcher has to throw right down the middle of the plate, in the "hit me zone" you are going to get a nail-biter like yesterday, considering the Nationals have almost an entire lineup, one through eight that can go yard, that are just waiting for that pitch to launch since they know the umpire's plate is a fuzzy circle without corners. (Question, when an umpire goes for an eye test, you think they are shown all sizes of home plates, the way the letter "E" is flipped around, to see if the guy really can't see the corners?)

How many times have you been watching or listening to a game and throughout the game the announcer (Jon Miller or Dave Fleming) is repeatedly saying how the K-zone showed that to be a strike, I really don't know what the umpire is looking at, and then all of a sudden the pitcher becomes the benefactor of an altered strike zone. What is the cause of this? Why does the umpire change his choice of what is and what isn't a strike? Is it because the pitcher, the individual on the mound just somehow got through to the ump that 'hey, you're missing a good game.' And due to the reputation of this pitcher the ump just went along with the pitcher's suggestion. I mean it happens that fast and seemingly out of nowhere. I don't see what the ump has to gain by suddenly giving in to one strike zone while the other pitcher gets no adjustment whatsoever.

For a high percentage of games, in the major leagues, it works like this: GIVE A BATTER MORE THAN 3 STRIKES AND THE PITCHER PAYS DEARLY and SNAP A PITCHER OUT OF HIS FUNK (DUE TO YOUR POOR STRIKE ZONE) AND A GAME'S MOMENTUM CHANGES IN THAT PITCHER'S FAVOR. Umpires like this are bad for baseball.

Kevin J. Marquez