Saturday, July 16, 2005

Target: the human condition

From Rocket Bill's Saturday notes column:

As one entered Frank Robinson's office at Miller Park on Saturday afternoon, one could see a still shot of Mike Stanton's game-ending balk on the TV screen. The balk helped the Brewers defeat the Nationals, 4-3, on Friday night.
Robinson reiterated that Stanton's entire body, except for his face, was facing first base, not home plate like first base umpire Paul Schrieber ruled.
While there is nothing he can do to reverse the call, Robinson is thinking about taking the videotape to Major League Baseball in hopes that such a call is never made in a game again.

Huh? The guy screwed up. Schrieber thought he saw what he thought he saw, and if what he thought he saw is not what the videotape recorded, then he probably screwed up. Screwing up is one of the things human beings do best. Umpires will make split-second mistakes again---maybe even this one. How do you ensure that "such a call is never made in a game again"?

Presumably, Paul Schrieber knows the rules of his sport; after all, he's not an NFL referee. If he screwed up, he screwed up; umpires do tend to screw up on occasion, and there's not much you can do to ensure such screw-ups never happen again. Hell, not even Frank Robinson's quote that was characterized as a hope of ensuring that "such a call is never made in a game again" stands for that proposition. He just wants to make sure, you know, MLB saw the play:

"[Major League Baseball] will look at it, but whether they would tell the umpires they are right or wrong, I can't answer that," Robinson said. "It's not that you are protesting. If we send it in, we are just saying to the league office, 'Here's what we have on videotape. This is
what we want you to take a look at. And looking at [the videotape], it wasn't a balk.' I'm sure they have looked at it already."

I wouldn't be so sure that MLB has looked at that tape, though; after all, one of the lessons of the Kenny Rogers incident was that it's really, really hard to pry Bud Selig away from a vacation.


But I will tell you what we can ensure never happens again: that a home plate umpire never "waves goodbye" to a player he has just ejected. And you'll never guess who did just that during tonight's victory over the Brewers? Why, it was our old friend with the eyes of an eagle, Paul Schrieber. Rocket has the details, and I don't think he's holding back.

Ever on the beat, Rocket has compiled Schrieber's rap sheet; from all appearances, Schrieber and Russell Crowe were twin brothers, separated at birth, only Schrieber's the rash one. One thing's for certain: if Schrieber asks for some peanuts, GIVE THE MAN THE DAMNED PEANUTS!!!

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