Friday, October 06, 2006

Because I said so!

Like many Americans, although far fewer since the advent of things like reality television, I have been enjoying the Major League Baseball Playoffs. It's exciting stuff, with the Detroit Tigers holding their own against the Evil Empire, and the Mets and Dodgers mixing it up in the National League.

One thing that I always see and never understand is arguing. A guy is called safe when the fielder is sure he tagged him out, or is called out when the runner knows the other guy missed the tag. The player yells at the umpire, the umpire yells back, the manager gets involved, and things either calm down or someone gets ejected.

Someone, anyone, tell me WHY. Never in the history of major league baseball has a call been changed because a player argued. The call is made, the guy is out or safe, and it's over. It's DONE. Yet every year, hundreds of players and managers get into it with the ump.

Why do they do it? To blow off steam? What would a manager do, I wonder, if an umpire listened attentively to the manager's arguments, nodded thoughtfully, and said "you know, now that I think about it, you're right. SAFE!"

Most likely the manager would stand there in stunned silence while the manager of the opposing team and all his players charged out of the dugout screaming at the fickle ump.

For that matter, why does the umpire engage the manager or player at all? He's under no obligation to explain himself and we all know the call is going to stand. Why doesn't the umpire just walk back to his position, yell "play ball!" and be done with it?

I suppose these guys fight because posturing is a part of baseball, and it gives the fans something to get worked up about during all the slow moments. This is probably why there are so many brutal fights during soccer games, since there are about 100 times as many slow moments.

I propose they organize a replay system like the one they have in football. Give each manager three challenges he can use during the game. If he doesn't like a call, he can send it to replay. If he doesn't, he can shut his mouth and stay in the dugout.

That'll never happen. Baseball is about tradition, and there's nothing more traditional than two guys yelling at each other over a stupid game with no resolution anywhere in sight.

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