I got a chuckle out of a couple of things from the national sports arena over the last several weeks, events seemingly unrelated but in my view at least peripherally connected by one fairly significant element: the all-seeing, relentless video camera.
In the MLB postseason, the umpires were confronted with what seemed like an inordinate number of botched calls, evincing the usual cavalcade of breast thumping about how video review needs to come to the rescue here or cameras need to be installed behind home plate to handle the balls-and-strikes duties that now seem to be beyond the capabilities of mere mortals. Phooey.
This is one area where Commandant Selig and I agree completely. He’s against the kind of intrusion into the game of baseball that all the instantaneous camera review has brought to the NFL. And I’m pretty sure that he dismisses out of hand the idiotic notion of having cameras and computers call balls and strikes, as well he should.
I don’t think baseball needs hardly any tinkering in that area: the bulk of the uproar stems from the enhanced scrutiny that television gives from every possible angle and in mind-numbing slow motion. There seemed to be a lot of balls and strikes missed during the postseason, but I suspect most of that comes from having those graphics installed by the television networks that seemingly show up the umps as borderline clueless.
I don’t think they are; missed calls have been part of the human element of the game since the beginning, and while aggravating at the moment of occurrence, are probably more palatable than the fundamental alteration of our beloved game that would come from turning the umping duties over to technology.
And for those of you keeping score at home, I am convinced that the final pitch of Don Larsen’s perfect game in the 1956 World Series was a ball. So sue me.
The other event that prompted this blog was the soccer player from New Mexico who yanked another gal to the turf by her pony tail. I suspect this will be further examined in a separate entry, but I am convinced that the heightened scrutiny of multiple cameras and the ability to then install the images in cyberspace is a huge part of our outrage. The camera’s knack for removing things from context and thus distorting our understanding obviously predates Rodney King from nearly 20 years ago, but the oppressive nature of the all-seeing magic eye is getting more onerous every day.
OK, and I concede it made me giggle. I’d suspect myself of being a male chauvinist pig if it weren’t so retro.