Friday, June 04, 2010

Games 54 and 55: One Team's Ceiling Is Another Team's Floor: And, A Defense Of Jim Joyce

In Boston Wednesday night, the Red Sox overcame a Typical Dice K First Inning (TM) to pull out a 6-4 win, and then turned around and threw away a 9-8 loss last night, with two runners thrown out at home and 18 hits going for naught. Boston is now 31-24, 5 1/2 games out, and tied with Toronto for third place.


First, watch the play, in real time:

Second, read Rob Neyer here.

Now, right off the bat-dude was out. OK? Looking at the replay and at stills, no question, he was out.

But watch it live, at full speed. Remember, Joyce has to determine:

a)does the runner get to the bag before the pitcher gets the ball?
b)does the pitcher have control of the ball all the way through the play?
c)does the pitcher touch the base?
d)does the batter touch the base?

-with 30,000 people yelling at him, in real time, at the end of a 8 hour workday, the last 3 of which on his feet with no breaks and, probably, very little food or water (think that's easy? Try it. Force yourself to work for the next three hours-intense, detail oriented work, without losing focus and without having anything to eat or drink) and no chance to do it over or look at a replay.

Now ask yourself, is he safe? Or out?

The argument has been made-"Oh, you have to give him that call, there was a perfect game on the line."


Safe is safe, and out is out, whether the seventh game of the World Series or the first game of spring training.

Now, Joyce blew the call. He's acknowledged it. He got it wrong. Being on his feet for 3 hours or longer and concentrating is his job-he's a major league umpire.

But think about it from his point of view-it was a close play, and he made the wrong call. It wasn't because he wasn't trying. It wasn't because he was out of position. He had a lot of factors to consider, and he got it wrong.

I wish I was as right, as often, as Jim Joyce.

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