Sunday, March 12, 2006

Buck Martinez, Your Prescription Is Ready. Which Frames Would You Like?

Right when I go out and completely praise the World Baseball Classic, something that many aren't doing outside of Bud Selig and a few other blogs, they go an make a incredibly wrong call during the USA/Japan game.

Basically, there's no reason why the call should have been called back at third base. Tsuyoshi Nishioka left for home to score the go-ahead run. It was contested that he left the bag before Randy Winn caught the ball in shallow left field. Called safe. Argued by Buck Martinez. Overturned. Boneheaded call. This isn't MLB, there should be no reason why they don't use instant replay. WTA is starting to use it. NFL uses it. Why not the WBC? MLB is worried it will slow down an already time-consuming sport. But this is the first WBC. An international tournament that is hoped to spread baseball further than it has already gone around the globe. There's a lot of pressure to make the right calls and to do the right things. This is not a step in the right direction.

The worst part is, when the call was contested it was originally called "safe". Now, when the USA argued the call, there was discussion and it was overruled. There's no reason why the umpires should have even entertained the argument made by Buck Martinez. There should be no negotiations once they make a call, especially when the original call was the correct one.

As my roommate just said across the room, "And America wonders why the rest of the world hates us?" Maybe a bit extreme, but this can't look good to anyone except the USA team.

Yes, the home plate umpire has final call. If the 2nd base umpire didn't see the play perfectly, fine. But that's not the argument here. The fact is that it was the wrong call, and it was wrong by a long shot. You need to give all these players, no matter what country they're from, the benefit of the doubt in those situations in my mind. They know what they're doing. Especially the professionals from Japan. These are players that take sportsmanship to a new level. They even feel sliding in hard to second base to break up a double play is "ungentlemen-like". I feel they know how to tag up, especially against Randy Winn.

"Make sure you get the call right. 'We will' And thank God he did because he obviously left early," Buck Martinez was quoted to saying after the game on ESPN2. I want to see the look on his face when he sees the replay.

Editor's Note: After the game, ESPN's first write up on the game doesn't even mention the incident. I think the WBC is lucky in the respect that this happened on the same day the NCAA men's basketball brackets were announced so all the attention will be on that on Monday.

Editor's Note: Sports Illustrated reported about the incident. They really downplay it, but at least they put some light on it. They either did a great job of downplaying the call, or they did a good job of presenting it in a way where it just isn't as big a deal as it actually could be.

Editor's Note: I have updated my opinion here.


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