The human element

October 10, 2009



Ron Gardenhire is a stand-up guy.

I liked his reaction to the terrible call — against the Minnesota Twins — in last night’s playoff game against the Yankees. The mistake by right-field baseline umpire Phil Cuzzi couldn’t have come at a worse time as he ruled what should have been a double by Joe Mauer a foul ball. The replay clearly showed that Cuzzi was wrong, even though he was in a perfect position to see the play.

Instead of railing at Cuzzi or at umpires in general or at the Fates, Gardenhire said that what’s done is done. He didn’t mention — so far as I know — that his team was the beneficiary of a bad call in its one-game playoff with the Tigers when plate umpire Randy Marsh missed the call when Brandon Inge was brushed by a pitch in the top of the 12th inning – a call that would have scored a run for the Tigers, who lost the game in the bottom of the 12th.



The conventional wisdom is that bad calls even out, which is a lot more demonstrable in a 162-game regular season than it is in a one-game playoff. Still, I was glad to see Gardenhire’s observation when he was asked if more videotape reviews should be introduced in baseball.

“The great thing about baseball,” he said, is the human element …. and I hope we keep it that way.”

I’m with Gardenhire. Probably enough technology exists to eliminate umpires altogether, but where would be the fun in that? I don’t like when the call goes against my team, but I’d miss complaining about it — and gloating when the call goes the other way.

Just stand in and hit.