As we write this, summer is becoming autumn and the baseball season is coming to an end. With time on my hands, I manage to watch quite a bit of baseball. The mistakes the umpires have made are responsible for a bunch of winners and losers. Some wag wrote that the umpires are right 95 percent of the time. He sure as Dickens wasn’t watching the games I was watching!
A no-hitter was won after a pop-fly hit the line along third base behind the bag. Clearly, it was a fair ball. It should have ruined a no-hitter. Even after the visible imprint of the baseball on the baseline for God and every umpire to see, this particular umpire called it a foul ball. He saved a no-hitter. There have been many times when we’ve seen things this bad and still the commissioner of baseball wants the human error in his umpires.
Baseball, which was designed to be played in a meadow-like atmosphere under blue skies and sunshine, has little of the intent of the original players left in the game. So I understand the desire not to make many changes. There is something to be said about watching a game that your great-great-grandfather would certainly recognize. That is probably also true of basketball and football, but they are not nearly as old as the nation’s pastime.
So instead of stumbling through grievous mistakes and wins and losses depending entirely on the bad judgments of umpires, why doesn’t baseball have a system of replay? To keep it from making a game a whole lot longer we would have to limit the manager of both teams to no more than two replays per game.
We have that now in deciding whether or not a ball was hit out of the stadium and truly was a home run. Two interruptions would not make this a terribly long affair.
Now, with ballgames literally being watched coast to coast, the integrity of the game must be upheld. We cannot and should not allow an umpire’s grievous mistake to decide who wins or loses a ballgame.
Ronn Mott, a longtime radio personality in Terre Haute, writes commentaries for the Tribune-Star. His pieces are published online Tuesday and Thursday on Tribstar.com, and in the print and online editions on Saturday.