Originally, I wanted to write a column on how the media has over-hyped the crap out of a potential Boston Celtics vs. Los Angeles Lakers NBA Finals. But after what I have witnessed in several baseball games on television this week, I decided to flip the script and talk about the looming controversy that has quickly become the focal point of baseball.
No, it's not steroids. That's so 2007. I'm talking about everybody's favorite boys in blue; the umpires.
OK, maybe they are far from being favored. You know what? They might as well be America's Most Wanted.
In fact, it doesn't seem like a complete baseball game unless I see some questionable calls from the umps.
I have been to many a game where the fans get all kinds of crazy because an umpire screwed up a call.
And believe me, it happens a lot.
What I have seen on television, lately, is that players are hitting home runs that are being taken away from America's most hated…I mean the umps.
On a game I saw May 18 between the New York Yankees and the New York Mets, Mets first baseman Carlos Delgado lined a ball to left field that clearly hit the foul pole.
That is what we call a home run. In fact, it was a three-run homer.
At first, the third base ump called it a home run, but he was overruled by the other umps, including the home plate ump.
Can someone please explain to me how could the home plate ump see from way back yonder to see if the ball was foul or fair? He must have had some super secret eye surgery. If so, he needed a second opinion.
The home plate ump, whose name is Bob Davidson, went on the record the next day to say that it was a homer.
Luckily, it didn't affect the outcome of the game, since the Mets blew out the Yankees 11-2.
It would have really been sad had the Yankees won.
I understand that being an umpire is a tough job. You need some really thick skin and some brass "you know what" to have that job.
One of my buddies just got a gig being a Little League umpire and his new nickname is Target.
I laughed hysterically when he told me about his new job. I knew that he was going to go through hell dealing with the parents.
He told me that in being an umpire, 50 percent of the field is going to love you and 50 percent is going to hate you.
I feel for him, but I laugh at his expense. I would not want to be an umpire unless I'm given a boatload of cash.
In fact, Major League umpires make a pretty good living. Their salaries range from $84,000 to nearly $300,000 a year, based on experience.
In that case, maybe they should be making the right calls for the amount of money they get paid?
Seeing umps make bad calls has surfaced a question that many people have been pondering for a while now.
Is it time we put instant replay in baseball? I say, why not?
Now, it may be a little insulting to the umpires, but it could provide a little relief for them at the risk of making another bad call.
I'm sure the umps might think that their hard work won't show. After all, they actually have to train to reach the Major League level, so I might understand their feelings toward it.
Fans might be upset with the suggestion, since some people that watch baseball already complain that the game is too slow.
Look, the game is not the reason why the games last at least three hours. There are many instances that cause delays in baseball games.
Besides umpires debating about a call, you also have managers getting out of the dugout to argue a call, players doing the same while at bat, possible base-clearing fights (which are worth it) and rain delays.
With all of that keeping the game from going at a steady pace, what could a few minutes of checking an instant replay hurt?
I think it should play out just like a football game. The managers would have two red flags and could throw them whenever an ump makes a questionable call.
The ump would take two minutes to look at the play and decide to either sustain the call or change it.
It works in football and basketball…sort of, but adding instant replay to baseball could benefit those people who watch the game, keeping them from yelling at the television screens or losing their voices on the field for no senseless reason.
I can't picture myself becoming an umpire. Sure, when I'm up in the press box, I feel like I would make the right call, but you really can't win when you're dressed in blue. And at times, I would find myself wondering what in the world was the umpire thinking?
Sometimes I feel for the umpires, believe it or not.
I don't envy what they do. It would be tough to be the person that had the chance to make or break the game.
Umpires have it rough once they make their way to the field. None of them really lose sleep unless they know they messed up.
But what umpire is really going to confess that they botched a call?
I'm telling you, instant replay is a good call.
Sure, there are some things I would like to see happen in sports, like a BCS playoff, Barry Bonds getting caught and Steve Bartman out of hiding, but it seems like wishful thinking.
However, I think instant replay in baseball could become a reality sooner than any of us think.
Juan Carlos Reyes is a sports reporter for the Record Star. Readers may contact him at 361-387-4511 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.