Anarchists' Brunch: The Impending Summit

We've seen multiple examples of it this weekend, and sadly they all come from the same man. We've had more episodes of the Joe West Show in Philadelphia than anyone cares to watch. I wonder how long MLB is going to tolerate this kind of stuff. It seems like forever.

When even the players are starting to scream, at the umps, about automatic strike zones, I have to feel like we might actually see it in our lifetimes. I wonder if it wouldn't be part of the incoming labor talks that are a year or two down the road. If the Players' Union were in any kind of shape, I imagine it would be. Under the stewardship of Tony Clark, I'm skeptical. We know that if certain players are voicing it in the media, then a lot of them must feel that way.

The claim from those in the know is that the technology isn't there yet. I'm not sure exactly why it's not, but I am sure that it can't be that hard to get it there. If we can track baseballs instantly to exit velocity and launch angle, something tells me we must be in at least the neighborhood of whether or not the ball passed over the plate and within certain parameters.

Of course, it's not going to be that simple. The umps, who have a union of their own, aren't just going to let perhaps the major part of their job escape their grip and essentially just become messengers for a computer behind the plate without a fight. As said many times when this is discussed, you would still need an ump back there for foul tips, plays at the plate, etc. One imagines they would fight to keep the responsibility, which I can only hope leads to another futile, hilarious mass resignation that baseball just accepts and they have to reset that union again.

MLB simply has to take a queue from the NBA, which decided that confrontations between its players and refs were a bad thing, though the way that was implemented was a little ham-handed. It became essentially illegal for the players to talk to the refs for any length of time, but the NBA had also gotten sick of the Joey Crawfords of the world making themselves the center of attention. Eventually they got there.

I can't think of one person other than Joe West who likes seeing Joe West insert himself where he doesn't need to be, or act like he's above the game. Taking balls and strikes out of their hands would be a huge step in relations, because that's just about the only thing players have left to argue about. Almost everything else is subject to review. We can get to the bottom of it without confrontation.

And yet we're still doing this. And only baseball knows why. By the time the next CBA comes around, if the players are smart, it could be over.

-A word here on another LOOK-AT-ME thing that has to go: Marriage proposals at sporting events.

It is one of my favorite things in the world when some jackass does this, and his then-girlfriend tells him where he can stick it and hangs that doofus out to dry in front of thousands. I wish it happened more often, and it probably should.

I understand if your sports fandom is a big part of your relationship. I've been there. Hell, maybe even some of these people met at said stadium and want to come full circle. There's a way to do it, and piling on the pressure of 30,000 onlookers is not really the way to enhance what should be the most important moment between two people in their lives, or one of. It's just getting a bunch of strangers to celebrate your "creativity" or "dedication," and these days it's not even either of those because we've seen it too much.

Do it in a skybox or outside before a game or better yet at a much more romantic setting than in front of far too many mustard stains and amongst the smell of sweat on a hot day. That's your moment, not ours, and we're not particularly enthralled with sharing it with you. And also might give that poor girl a chance to make up her mind without a bunch of gawkers skewing the factors, hmmm? You'll notice it's almost never a woman proposing to her partner on the scoreboard, is it? I wonder why.

Also, "Love is for a--holes." - Frank Zappa

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Tags: Chicago Cubs, umpires

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  • Sam - I had a ridiculous dream last night that I was playing the new MLB Ump game where you could play as your heroes in blue. Joe West was on the cover. I now feel like a sad and lonely man for having played said game, even if it was in the deepest realm of my subconscious.

    Agreed, 100% on the stadium engagement proposal. There is not a single time that I don’t root for a rejection. I have a friend that proposed to his wife on a tour of Wrigley, which is nominally better. Still, it wasn’t about their shared love of the Cubs, but his own. It would seem that roughly 80% of those proposals would be similarly selfish acts by a male fighting an inner battle between commitment and his masculinity that leads him to the conclusion that he should propose at a sporting event.

    On the other hand, I’ve also witnessed a guy propose at an Applebee’s, which is equally horrifying. Men are pretty stupid.

  • Not too long ago, I was one of the fans who would support the umps, lately not so much. It's a difficult job calling balls and strikes and most all just want to get the call right. Still some calls are so off and framing plays a huge part in how close pitches are seen. Many good hitters know the strike zone better than the umpires do, such as Zo, Murphy, Schwarber, and Riz. If it can be accurate electronically, it should happen, just based on fairness.

  • A couple of man couple of my students are taking an officiating class. I asked if they are going to talk about the growing trend of more technology being used in sports, and a growing demand for “robot umps.” They didn’t know the answer to the question, but I immediately got pushback on that idea, and actually had a kid tell me that “mistakes are part of the game.” It wasn’t an apathetic stance, as are a lot of arguments I see kids make in class. I was a bit taken aback, as I was expecting that if anybody were willing to accept this kind of change it would be a generation of fans that hasn’t had decades of watching the sport. Then again, the notion challenges everything they know.

  • The only 'human element ' should be provided by those playing the game - not the umpires or peanut vendors influencing an incorrect outcome.

  • The balls and strikes robo ump cannot come too soon. Early on in my life, I decided that I was never to understand what the strike zone is. Then the computers came along and showed that it wasn't just me who is confused.

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