"There are probably 800 players in the big leagues," commented A-Rod. "The odds of me being in some controversy are probably 2-1.” The statistical analysis required in order to understand all that is a little bit over my head. However, he is right on one count. When something newsworthy happens in the land of Major League Baseball, one is usually not surprised to discover that A-Rod was involved in one way or another. And something newsworthy certainly happened last night. That something was the implementation of instant replay. For the very first time. And on whose home run ball? That’s right. Frost Tip. I mean, like he said, the odds were 2-1.
In the top of the ninth, A-Rod hit a hard shot down the left field line, which both he and umpire Brian Runge saw as fair. The catcher for the Devils, Dioner Navarro, protested. As did Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon. The umps agreed that the best way to settle the issue was the not-so-old-fashioned way. Bring it to a replay. After disappearing together for a nail-biting two minutes and fifteen second, during which time they carefully reviewed the footage, they determined that Runge had gotten it right the first time. The ball had been fair. The home run would stick. A-Rod said with some relief, “I was just glad we got the right call.” And I am just glad that A-Rod didn’t have anything to lose sleep over.
But did they get the call right? You see, I watched the replay several times. Just to make sure. In case anyone needed a second opinion. And I’ll be an effin’ redneck if that ball didn’t look just a little left of fair to me. Not that it wasn’t close. But it raises an interesting point. Just because we bring technology into the mix, it does not mean that we eliminate human error. Unfortunately, at this point in time, we still need humans to watch and interpret replays. And if the camera angle doesn’t get it just right—if a ball is still a little close to call—we end up right back where we started. One ump, one call. Or, I guess last night, a group of umps and one call. Like I said, if I had been a part of the two minute and fifteen second deliberation, I would have been inclined to call that ball foul. However, maybe the ability to read the call right is altered ever-so-slightly when you were the one to have made it in the first place. When you are looking at instant replay footage to confirm something you feel you already know rather than to get at the truth.
All I know is this—without the instant replay, A-Rod got robbed of a home run on May 21, a call that did not affect the game’s outcome. With or without instant replay, A-Rod got credited with a home run last night that I don’t believe he necessarily deserved. Again, either way, it would not have affected the game’s outcome. Basically, without the use of instant replay, A-Rod is even-steven on the home run front and the games’ final outcomes are unaltered. When it comes to botched calls, you win some, you lose some, and the odds are 2-1 that it balances out in the end.
In any event, it gives A-Rod something to gossip about with the girls when he’s getting those tips done at the salon. At Frederick Fekkai to be exact. Yes, I have it from a fairly reliable source that it is to the good stylists at F squared that A-Rod owes his frosty tips. So, if you are having trouble making an appointment, you can blame it on A-Rod. He probably stole your slot. (I sometimes even blame him when there is interrupted service on the subway. Because he exists.) However, this information might make you want to rethink your choice of salon anyway. You all have seen his hair, right?
What I will say about A-Rod is that he is continuing to deliver the goods this week, providing us with four more RBIs in last night’s 8-4 victory over the Devs. Rookie Phil Coke also deserves a shout-out for his contribution of two perfect innings. Well pitched, Phil-a-roo. Edwar Ramirez did his part, as well, helping Carl Pavano out of no-out bases loaded jam in the fifth. Despite the fact that he only faced three batters, Ramirez managed to earn himself the win—our third “W” in consecutive games. Here is the trouble. Want to know who else earned their third “W” in a row last night? You guessed it—or you already knew it—the Chowdas. So they remain seven in front of us for the wild card. And the problem is, of course, that we could win every game on our schedule from now until the end of the month, and it won’t matter a lick unless the Chowdas start to lose. A lot. Fortunately, we will see them again before the season is through. Let's just hope it still matters by then.
On a different note, I discovered this week that I think I might have a new favorite sport. Sadly, like both the summer and winter Olympics, it is a sport that only comes around once every four years. But BOY is it ever fun. I am talking about the Republican National Convention. They still haven’t wrapped up the event for the week, but smart money for the gold medal in batshit crazy is on everyone’s favorite lipstick-wearing, hockey-loving, polar bear-hating pit bull. That’s not mean. I am just quoting her. Well, except the part about the polar bears. That was just a deduction based on other things she said. Other competitors for the batshit crazy award, such as Rudy and Huck, have both updated their myspace pages with messages that indicate that they are starting to get a little worried. Ultimately, it is not impossible that it will all come down to a replay. To be honest, I don’t really care who wins. I am just glad that someone is out there telling the truth about the uselessness of community organizing. And I also just think it’s fun to yell, “Drill, baby, drill!”