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Wednesday, June 27, 2012

The Best Catch I Never Made

Last night, Dewayne Wise of the New York Yankees made one of the more impressive put outs you’ll see. What was even more impressive is that he did it without catching or presenting the ball. What was unimpressive is that a FAN did present the ball to the umpire.


Here is what happened. The Yankees led the Cleveland Indians 6-0 in the 7th inning while the Tribe had a runner on third. The Jack Hannahan (.256, 3 HR, 18 RBI) of the Indians hit a fly ball into foul territory in left field. Wise extended his glove near the stands in foul territory and flipped into the crowd. Wise arose with his glove closed and umpire Mike DiMuro called Hannahan out.

Replay showed that it was not a catch. Wise knew he did not have the ball in his glove. Wise put his head down and made a bee line for the dugout with his glove closed, probably hoping that DiMuro would not ask to see the ball. Actually, DiMuro didn’t have to ask. He simply needed to look at the fan near the left field wall holding his new souvenir in the air for all (except DiMuro, apparently) to see.

What a catch...NOT! 1

The Indians would go on to lose 6-4. Hannahan would not get a chance to bring the runner on third home and nobody would get a chance to bring Hannahan home, which would have given the Indians an additional two runs because the Yankees were awarded a third out for a catch that Wise never made.

Once again, Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig’s stubborn refusal to join every other major team sports league in the 21st century has impacted the outcome of a game. Fortunately, there are 162 regular season games and the impact of this single mistake should have a limited impact on the outcome of the Indians’ and Yankees’ seasons.

However, we got a glimpse of how Selig’s precious “human element” made a mess of the 2010 Divisional Series matchups. We watched Armondo Galarraga of the Detroit Tigers get robbed of a historic perfect game, ironically against the Indians, due to “the human element” of umpiring during the 2010 regular season. Earlier this month, we watched Johan Santana of the New York Mets earn a no hitter in spite of a Carlos Beltran “foul ball” that landed on the foul line past third base, puffing clouds of white chalk into the air. These are not footnotes in the stories of the respective seasons. These are eye opening plays that altered significant events in baseball.

By all reports I hear in sports media, MLB has lost substantial market share in the 35 years old and under demographic to the NFL and NBA. By refusing to use an easily available tool to ensure that games are called properly, Selig is planting his feet in the mud for a cause that will not attract those younger fans. A commissioner who kicks and screams into the future is not what a game with a shortage of younger fans from a tech savvy generation needs.

American Idol rejects aren't as tone deaf as Bud Selig is to his customers - the fans. 3


Selig recently signed a contract extension, extending his term past the 2012 season, which was originally the final year of Selig’s contract and, according to rumor, supposed to be Selig’s final season before retiring. Clearly that isn’t the case. We’re stuck with him, baseball fans.

So since we can’t give Selig a golden parachute (not to be confused with the golden shower some fans may want to deliver to the commissioner), the only other option is to sit back and watch baseball crush itself under its own weight and continue to erode the integrity of the outcomes of its games. In time, enough black eyes, such as the Dewayne Wise call, will make even the most stubborn mule tired of being hit in the eye.

We haven’t reached the All-Star break yet. There is plenty of time for more umpiring calamities. If we are lucky, perhaps a team could lose a game solely because of a painfully obvious bad call. Perhaps the owners will steamroll Selig and demand an expansion of instant replay before the postseason.

Perhaps I’ll get a date with Megan Fox.

I think most guys reading this have a better chance of getting closer than this to Megan as baseball will of getting closer to expanding instant replay under Bud Selig's watch. 3

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