Brock: Baseball isn’t fair, as hard as they try
Baseball, like life, isn’t supposed to be fair. Baseball is a game I dearly love and should not be confused with other sports.
Still, the brain trust that is Major League Baseball doesn’t recognize the distinct beauty and advantages it has over other sports. This year, the MLB instituted instant replay.
I will admit to disliking instant replay in other sports like football and basketball, but downright hate that it now is a part of the MLB.
Golf is an honor sport, and each player is responsible for keeping their score and insuring they know and play by the rules. Baseball is the complete opposite.
Beginning in Little League, kids are taught how to chatter, which is an annoying chant by fielders aimed at hitters to disrupt their focus and to get under their skin. Baseball players, as long as the game has existed, have always been taught and encouraged to steal signs, spike infielders, run over catchers and throw at hitters.
Outfielders love when they get away with trapping a fly ball for an out, base runners or fielders feel the same when they get a call they don’t deserve and pitchers love expanded strike zones as much as hitters hate them.
There are reasons why umpires wear black. They are equally loved or despised by players’ coaches and fans, depending on the calls they make. Each relishes the opportunity to scream “boo” and yell at an ump if they think they missed a call.
The greatest managers of all time like Billy Martin, Lou Piniella and Earl Weaver were powder kegs waiting to explode if an ump’s call didn’t go their way. Their theatrical response to a perceived blown call was well worth the price of admission.
Now, if an ump misses a play in the field, a manager can politely ask for it to be reviewed on a TV. Hall of Famer Mike Schmidt has even suggested that they create an electronic foolproof system to call balls and strikes.
This year, catchers can no longer block the plate and base runners are required to avoid running them over.
Life isn’t fair or perfect, nor should baseball be. The beauty of baseball has always been its imperfection and the ability to cheat a little to help your team win.
The great baseball player and manager Leo Durocher wrote in his book entitled “Nice Guys Finish Last” that if he were playing third base and his mother were rounding third with the run that was going to beat his team, he’d trip her. Oh, he’d pick her up and brush her off and say, “Sorry, Mom, but nobody beats me.”
That mindset is what made baseball great for more than 100 years and taught countless kids the realities of life. It doesn’t need changing.
I can tell you that if I was playing baseball and rounding home, and current MLB Commissioner Bud Selig was catching, I would be coming in spikes first.
Brock is the publisher of The Dickinson Press. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.