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I spent over 20 years officiating baseball, softball, and football. It was both great fun, mildly remunerative, and even harrowing. I called games involving kids, boys and girls, starting at age 10. I called games from junior high to high school. On the other end of the spectrum, I called adult baseball and softball (slow pitch and fast pitch) up through national tournaments, in almost all classes of ball. I didn’t want to call men’s unlimited softball because virtually every player was sure that the only reason they were not on a major league roster was some incompetent general manager or coach that had a personal bias against them. Damn prima donnas! What I am saying is, “Been there, done that.” Not at the MLB or NFL level, but I worked just as hard to “get it right.” That is where I developed my theory that parents should be kept in locked cages at least 100 yards away from the playing field during any youth sporting event.
Lisa, you wrote a generally good article. One that I can agree with almost completely. The theory behind your prescriptions would seem to be spot on. There is, however, one development in major league baseball that you fail to take into account. That is the modern stadiums.
Way back in the day, the home run thing was not so big a problem. The bats were ash, not the current super hard maple that splinters at the drop of a hat. The ball was a “dead” ball, or at least not as lively as today. The players were not as honed, and toned, and strong. But at the original Yankee Stadium, you couldn’t hit a ball out of center field anyway. You could get an inside the park home run, but you darn sure weren’t going to hit it out of the park. In all stadiums you had an outfield wall of some height, and some distance from home plate, depending on the stadium. If the ball cleared the fence, or if it hit the top of the fence and bounced over, it was a home run. There were a few balls each year that were called wrong as far as fair and foul are concerned, but there were not enough of them to get all radical over.
Today “over the fence” in many stadiums is a matter of above or below some painted line on the outfield wall. Also today, the majority of players are quite capable of “hitting it out.” Somehow I can’t see a good pitcher worrying about Peewee Reese or Phil Rizzuto hitting many a ball out of the park. Of course if you were left handed and with the short porch along the right field corner of Yankee Stadium, well…
Anyway, these new stadiums with the new painted yellow lines half or two thirds of the way up the outfield fence that determine the matter, you are putting the umps at a distinct disadvantage, and the outcomes of more and more games are becoming involved. Perhaps the better solution would be to go to six-man crew like in the playoff games. I, too, am leery of introducing instant replay. Unfortunately, as long as TV is going to show every batted ball over and over in slow motion and stop action, then you are going to have the continued agitation for the instant replay solution. A better solution would be to force TV to stop with the slow mo and stop action multiple replays. Just let the play stand as called. You aren’t going to get it changed anyway. TV has not been an unmixed blessing, especially in sports.p>Good thing it isn’t life or death, huh. Oh wait! It is to some fans. You’re out because I called you out, that’s why. When you make as few errors as I do, then you can talk. Until then, shut up and play ball. br> — Ken Shreve /p> p>
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
The debacle of this president’s administration is both a cause and a symptom of the decline of American values. Unless Congress impeaches him, that decline will go on unchecked. An eminent jurist surveys the damage and assesses the chances for the recovery of our culture.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
The American Christmas, like the songs that celebrate it, makes room for everybody under the rainbow. Is that why so many people seem to be hostile to it?
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?