Monday, September 3, 2012

Or lack thereof...

Ah, now that we are in between national conventions, it's time for a little diversion. No, there will be no commentary on Clint Eastwood stuttering, or Mitt Romney vacillating, or Paul Ryan calculating. Nor would it be appropriate to comment on Joe Biden doddering, or Barack Obama pandering, or even Chris Matthews tingling. No, let's talk about more important issues.

"What's more important than our country's future...or lack thereof?" Thereof? What the hell does that mean? Ever since I let you back into the fold, Buck, you've been coming off more and more, let's say, Biden-esque? Or, to please those on the left, how about, well, Bush-like. "Man,  it sure didn't take long for you to toss in the "B" word!" Okay, you got me there. Hey, maybe we should start a pool about when the first DNC speech will use a "B" word reference. Oh, I about we predict which euphemism will come first, "the last administration," or "the last decade," or maybe go right for the jugular, "Bush/Cheney." Oh well...

No, I think we need to talk about professional sports, specifically Major League Baseball. Since I was one of the first to openly question "balls flying out of the park," back in the mid 90's, simply to get folks back in the ball parks after cancellation of the 1994 World Series. I mentioned juiced balls, juiced ball players, AND "juicy" strike zones. Yep, even back then, I was giving umpires much more credit (for their contribution) than MLB executives or team owners or the players union, and of course, the sports media. Why bring it up again?

Well, you HEARD IT HERE FIRST. The recent year(s) of the pitcher...all the shut outs, no hitters, hell, even perfect games, I believe, were simply intended to take fans' minds off the steroid scandal. Oh sure, many of us knew and still know, that PITCHERS JUICE JUST LIKE HITTERS to this day...and while some media folk have mentioned this, i.e. pitchers juicing, most have said nothing. Still today, the scribes have opted to focus their "faux" outrage on the know, like hitters are the only ones looking for an illegal edge. Ergo, we get year of the pitcher...I say more like "year of the shrinking, moving strike zone.  Today, however, something new is afoot.

Yep, the umpires...Major League Umpires...they have a union...and the union is in the midst of contract negotiations with Major League know, Bud Selig and the owners. A part of the negotiations, besides pay and benefits, is instant replay. Instant replay has been used in, for instance, the NFL, for several years now...and they keep expanding it every year. I believe the umpires see this and know that they could soon become irrelevant if MLB takes this same incremental path toward "automated officiating."

Speaking of expanding, which the strike zones did back in the mid 90's, I believe MLB umpires have, in addition to constricting modern day strike zones, allowed them become "more flexible," depending on the the game's flow, opponents, importance, etc. In other words, if MLB didn't previously think enough of the umpires to actually see that they are a huge part of the game and deserving of a new contract, well, this oughta show 'em. Yep, the umps are gonna show Selig just how the game can be effected due to their input (of lack thereof)...

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