* I’ve fought for the major league umpires as long as I can. I’ve backed them when they didn’t deserve backing. I’ve fought the idea of an expanded use of instant replay in Major League Baseball because I’ve forever believed the human element in the game of baseball, especially, increases the appeal of the game.
And what have the umpires done for me? Made me look like a fool.
Calls continue to be blown. This season, umpires have taken on a “this is my world” mentality that has been difficult to watch. And so far in the postseason, there have been several key blown calls and questionable strike zones. Again.
So it’s time. It’s time for MLB commissioner Bud Selig, who often brags about how he’s made the right improvements to the game during his tenure, to make the most important change of all: a sweeping change to more instant replay.
MLB uses instant replay for fair-foul calls and to see whether or not a ball clears a wall. It’s time for more. It’s time for replay to be used on safe/out calls and to judge whether a ball has been trapped or caught in the outfield. Yes, more replay slows things down and if there’s a universal criticism of baseball at the major league level it’s that it lasts too long.
But credibility trumps pace and baseball is at a turning point with its fans, whom I sense are growing as tired of the dictatorial state of umpiring as I am.
I was encouraged to read today that the MLBPA has set up a meeting with the umpire’s association in December, at which time a few things will be discussed. The players are rightly upset as to the changed attitudes of umpires during games and want that addressed. But there is also the likelihood that instant replay will be on the table.
“Already during this postseason, calls have been isolated by players, the media and announcers as being problematic. Calls for a change in instant-replay policy have been renewed,” the story states.
“In Game 1 of the American League Division Series, Yankees outfielder Greg Golson made a crucial ninth-inning catch, but it was ruled on the field as a non-catch. Replays clearly showed the umps erred, and the next day Yankees manager Joe Girardi said he’d like to see the expansion of instant replay.
“In Thursday’s National League Division Series opener between San Francisco and Atlanta, Giants catcher Buster Posey was credited with a stolen base when replays showed he appeared to be tagged out. Posey later scored the lone run in the Giants’ 1-0 win over the Braves.
“I guess it’s a good thing we don’t have instant replay right now,” Posey told reporters after the game.
Selig, who has been as reluctant to use replay as I have been to support its use, must recognize a tipping point has been reached. It’s time for baseball to jump on the technology bandwagon and do everything it can to make sure the correct calls are being made on the field of play.
* How much controversy will be generated by the “Deadspin” story on Brett Favre and allegations that he sent racy text messages and photos to a former New York Jets worker, Jenn Sterger, while he was the Jets’ quarterback in 2008?
The NFL reportedly is reviewing the matter, which probably is a sign that the allegations carry some weight.
I went to deadspin.com today and listened to the e-mails and saw the photos and all I can say is it’s difficult to believe someone would have gone to the trouble to set Favre up.
It also doesn’t help that he returns to New York on Monday night – with Randy Moss in tow – to face the New York Jets. The New York media loves stories like this. It’s going to be a wild next few days for the ole’ gunslinger.
* Here are my picks for some of today’s big college football games:
Michigan State 34, Michigan 28
Florida State 29, Miami (Fla.) 22
Alabama 31, South Carolina 18
Florida 28, LSU 17
Arizona 28, Oregon State 21
Alicia Sanchez I Women’s basketball I 5-9 Jr.
You have a reputation as a shooter. How does one gain that rep?
Sanchez: It’s kind of funny how it happened. I wasn’t a shooter in high school at all. Not at all. But my (Central Arizona College) junior college coach (Lin Laursen) really worked on me my outside game and I somehow became a shooter. I really don’t know how or why. I didn’t even know I could shoot a basketball, really. I always thought I was better going to the basket.
What’s your demeanor like on the court?
Sanchez: I’m usually tough on everyone. I want to see things done right because I was part of a national championship team in junior college and all I saw there was the right way. So when I see something wrong, I’m on whoever is doing it wrong. Someday I want to be a coach and I want to be like another coach on the floor. I’m definitely a student of the game.
What’s the last extreme thing you did?
Sanchez: I don’t know, I don’t do a lot of extreme things. I watch “Jersey Shore” and I like watching those people do extreme things. I do want to go to a haunted house here. It’s been a while, probably six or seven years. I don’t know why, I just like being scared.