Friday, August 16, 2013

Low Points, High Points and Instant Replay

As I mentioned last time, the roughest of Mo's stretch of blown saves came in Chicago two Wednesdays ago. Right there I consider the absolutely low point of the year; getting swept on the road against the second-worst team in the AL (really should be the worst thanks to the Astros.) Only time will tell where the high point is, or was. If the Yankees don't make the playoffs, then this past week is a good place to start.

Coming into the home-stand, most Yankee fans, including myself, thought this would be the final nail in the coffin for 2013. It would've been time to look ahead towards winter and Robbie Cano's free agency. But instead some of the old Yankee magic came back in the building. You would've thought the team was dead where they stood when Mo blew two saves over the weekend; but then there was Brett Gardner with a walk-off single on Friday night and a home-run Sunday afternoon. They miraculously took two of three from one of the best teams in baseball. Then all they did was score 25 runs in two days against the Angels; on the shoulders of Alfonso Soriano. Soriano's been in one of those stretches where every time he's up, he produces. The Yankees have even finally cracked that 60-win plateau; it felt like they'd be stuck with 59 wins forever!

One guy I truly feel for is Phil Hughes. I don't care how "in the zone" you are or how much you try to ignore what's on TV. Phil Hughes has to know with each loss, he's one step closer to his final year in pinstripes. He'd already be gone if someone, ANYONE was willing to trade for him. When not even second-division teams want your player, you know you've got a mess on your hands. 4-12 just looks absolutely embarrassing.

Raise your hand (not really) if you've ever gotten a puzzled look when you say you love baseball. In this day and age, especially with the younger fan becoming a massively important demographic with social media, people trend towards faster paced sports. One of baseball's biggest criticisms for the past 50 years; really ever since football became more popular in the 60s, was that baseball was too slow, laid back, and not filled with action like the tackle in football or the slam dunk in basketball. In the 90s there was action in baseball but it turned out all those guys were on 'roids. So what does Bud Selig and the rest of the baseball cronies do? They will EXPAND instant replay next year. Managers will get "challenges"; one through six innings and two in the final three. Why not just give them red flags and dress the umpires like zebras? Now, if a manager files a challenge, the call will be reviewed not by the umps, but by MLB Headquarters in NEW YORK. So, in a nutshell, umpires have almost no power.

Listen, I'm all for correct calls. If you want better umpires, fire C.B. Bucknor! (Insert joke drums here.) But when you have a sport that's "too slow", you don't respond by making it SLOWER! You know what's great about baseball? The IM-perfection. The fact that you better hustle to first, because if it's a bang-bang play, even if you were safe, you might get called out. How many times in football does the cornerback, because he reached in juuuuuust a little too much when defending the wide receiver, get the pass interference flag. To me, baseball's great because it rewards effort; it rewards players that hustle and try. It doesn't reward "Well I couldn't get one more yard for a first down, but that's ok 'cause the defensive end jumped a MILLISECOND too early, so it's offsides." I like imperfection, it makes baseball more human. I don't like every single call having to be picture perfect, even if it's against the Giants.

That's why everyone loved Armando Galarraga for staying classy with Jim Joyce. In the digital world with every instant replay angle, fans saw that Joyce blew a young pitcher's perfect game, but Galarraga didn't cry about it or protest--that's just baseball sometimes.

'Till Next Time!

Neil Dwyer @neildwyer1993

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Sorry for the Capatcha... Blame the Russians :)