Sports columnist Terence Moore has it right when it comes to umpires, instant replay and when it comes down to it, fan respect. And he quite succinctly makes his point in his first two sentences of his article posted today (my emphasis):
This umpire mess has to stop. Not the questionable calls or even the horrible ones, but the whining over it all.
As a person who works in a technology field, I should probably embrace instant replay over the inconsistencies of human judgment, But I don’t. Call me a traditionalist but that’s just not how baseball is played.
My special concern is WHY the idea of instant replay is gaining so much ground now.
1. The mob mentality.. Now that the issue has come to light, many fans have seized on it and thrown it back into the umps’ face. Instead of “where are your glasses, Blue?” fans are yelling “Replay! Replay Replay!” It gives them something else to be angry about.
2. Major League Baseball, in their effort to appear to please everyone all the time (without really doing so) is slowly jerking their knee and responding. “See we’re doing something about it?”
(In complete fairness, I know of plenty of knowledgeable, even-thinking people who support the idea of Instant Replay and have logical, thought-out reasons why they support it. I certainly would not clump them in with the first group.)
Whether or not one supports Instant Replay should not give a fan license to treat an ump with disrespect as Terence Moore’s piece describes in detail. Now, I go to 20 or so college baseball games a year and sure, I’ve been known to call out an ump on a questionable call. But though I do not like his particular decision at the time, he has my respect for the tough job that he does.
Even Frank Robinson from the MLB commissioner’s office weighed in on the umpires’ treatment.
"From fans, players, managers, coaches and front office people, I’ve never seen so much hostility toward umpires that I’ve seen this year. "All of this (umpire bashing) is very, very unfair. Do they miss calls? Of course they do. One thing people forget: Umpires are human beings.”
So let’s proceed with the Instant Replay discussion carefully and thoughtfully. And if you’re lucky enough to be out at park this year, don’t take it out on the ump.