Friday, August 11, 2006

Mussina gives up pitching, becomes umpire

Dr. Uetz

Like many kids in America, I grew up playing baseball. I was lucky enough to play varsity ball in high school, spending my time catching and on the mound. I was not a great baseball player, but I always felt I had an understanding of the game and a calm demeanor that helped me overcome what my lack of tremendous talent.

When I was a freshman my dad shared a great nugget of wisdom with me that helped tremendously in my so-called career. The punchline to his story was a line from an old umpire who says, "Some pitches are strikes. Some pitches are balls. But they ain't nothing until I call 'em."

I thought of that this morning as I read the New York Times piece on the Yankees' loss last night. Here's the line that played catalyst:
"With two outs and no base runners in the sixth, Mussina gave up a double to the left-field corner by Brian Anderson, the No. 9 hitter. Mussina said he thought he had struck out Anderson before that, but (home plate ump) Miller disagreed."

Pull your head out of your ass, Mussina. You thought you had struck out Anderson before that? Really? Then why was he still in the batter's box? Why were you on the mound and not resting in the dugout? Why was the rest of your defense still on the field? You thought you had struck him out?

I get tired of reading crap like that. I'm not sure when it happened, but we sure have become a sorry bunch of excuse-makers. Personally I blame instant replay. While it's fun to watch Bartman try to catch that foul ball over and over again, it gives lazy people too many opportunities to find lame excuses for losing. "We so would have won if the ump had called him out at second. It was obvious on the replay." Yeah, well you might also have won if your team had managed more than 4 hits and 2 runs. Or in the case of the Bartman example, maybe you would have won if Gonzalez hadn't committed an error - something he over which he had total control?

Baseball, like life and everything else we know, is imperfect. Part of the beauty of the game is that unlike any other game you truly control your own destiny. Umps make mistakes. But so do pitchers, so do fielders, so do the batters. Mussina gives up a double in the sixth, but the Yankees still have nine remaining outs of their own to do some damage. And aren't they supposed to be the best team money can buy?

But I'm straying. The fact is a professional ballplayer should know better than to "think they struck out Anderson before that." When you're on the field, you are there to play the game. Leave it to the douchebags in the stands to argue with the umps. We all have a role to play, and the umpire's role is to determine ball or strike, safe or out, foul or fair. So shut up and pitch.


Blogger edwardmcelvain said...

I'm all for calling the Yankees' entitled attitude into question, but arguing with umpires has been part of the game since they first started calling balls and strikes. A sense of fair play and a game without unnecessary bitching and moaning are things that make it good, but as you yourself say later in this post, the human eliment is one of the most beautiful points of the game. I really don't find much fault with Mussina's post-game comment -- he's entitled to an opinion, no matter how overpaid he is.

11:10 PM  
Blogger Dr. Uetz said...

True, arguing with umps and their calls is part of the game. Using those calls as an excuse, however, is lame.

7:46 AM  

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