Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Leyland rant

Yesterday, I was watching the Red Sox play the Tigers.  In the bottom of the second Rick Aviles was up with two strikes, two outs and a man on second.  Aviles swung and tipped a pitch which was caught by the catcher just before the catcher's mitt hit the ground.  Some dust came up from the glove's contact with the ground around home plate.

The catcher raised his glove to show the umpire that he had caught the foul tip which--for the uninitiated-- is equivalent to a swing and a miss.  The umpire held up the catcher and looked toward the first base umpire to make sure that the tip had indeed been caught.  The first base ump declared that the ball had not been caught.

Replays showed that the umpire was wrong. The catcher had absolutely caught the ball.  When the Red Sox proceeded to score three runs in the inning after the third out was disallowed, the manager for the Tigers, Jim Leland, became understandably irate.  It is rare that a blown call can actually call a team the game. But this mistake did in fact cost the Tigers the game.

Eventually Leland was thrown out of the game. Subsequently he vented to the press and urged writers to expose this injustice.

I am a fan of Leyland. I always found him to be a stand up guy and, in this case as in almost all, I have no problem with his behavior and comments. The ump got it wrong and it cost his team the game.

But this, I think, while an injustice points out the attraction and beauty of sports.  Anyone who watched the game or particularly the replay knows that the Tigers were wronged.  The question I have today, on Monday, is how many people at work, or in their relationships, or when interacting with retailers or public servants, feel that they have been wronged--and have no arbiter to appeal to, and no rule book to point at.   The beauty of sports is that the rules, typically, are enforced, and they are written somewhere.  When your boss passes over you to promote a buddy, or behaves incomprehensibly because it is somehow in her or his best interests; when you experience an injustice with a lover, family member, even retailer--it is difficult to obtain justice.

In sports, Leyland can rant and there is a public forum to support his fury.  Last night in the Celtics-Heat game a basket made after the 24 second clock expired was initially counted. Subsequently, the referees reviewed the play and took the two points off of the scoreboard.  When someone acts inappropriately in a social or work or family situation, it is very unlikely that the injustice will be made right.  Which is one reason why, tonight, there will be millions of people watching the San Antonio Spurs play the Oklahoma City Thunder.  For the most part, the game will be fair.

No comments:

Post a Comment