Although it was highly unlikely for MLB to reverse Angel Hernandez's double call Thursday night, the statement that went along with the upholding of the ruling was interesting. Here is a portion of it:
"Home and away broadcast feeds are available for all uses of instant replay, and they were available to the crew last night. Given what we saw, we recognize that an improper call was made. Perfection is an impossible standard in any endeavor, but our goal is always to get the calls right. Earlier this morning, we began the process of speaking with the crew to thoroughly review all the circumstances surrounding last night's decision."
MLB is here upholding the process in place, because otherwise they open up a door that they'd rather not go through. If they had reversed this call, then the umpires on the field will no longer be the final word. Because even a "boundary call," is ultimately a judgment call, and because the replay process was fully followed (the reference to home and away feeds), MLB could not reverse it.
Now that calls into question the people making those judgment calls. If MLB wants to avoid any more of these controversies, they might want to put the best umpires on the field. The ability to remove a bad umpire from the majors is I think a major flaw in baseball, and when players (who can be released) and managers (who can fired) see incompetence in an umpire not dealt with similarly, then umpires as a group lose credibility. If a couple bad apples could be removed, then I think that would go a long way towards improving the relationship between the teams and the umpires.
What's been so interesting about Homergate (as woodsmeister described it yesterday) is that both sides were pretty open about the call being a bad. Usually you get at best a noncommittal response from a player whose club got the benefit of a blown call, but not here.
"That's definitely one of the weirdest saves I've had," Perez said. "The most memorable, for sure. To end the game like that -- I had two outs and nobody on and then the home run, err, double, and then a hit-by-pitch and a walk. It shouldn't have been as intense as it was."
Perez, of course, is being honest as usual. Sometimes that gets him in trouble, but in this case, even MLB has admitted the mistake.
When the Jason Collins story broke, I didn't really know what to do with it. The first openly gay player in one of the four major sports leagues was a major sports story, even a major news story, but there wasn't anything directly pertaining to the Indians, and so I didn't want to shoehorn a couple comments/tweets into a post about Jason Collins on a baseball team blog. I dislike that when others do it, and I wasn't about to do it here.
But now we're far away enough from the initial story that I think it's appropriate to talk about what would happen if the first openly gay baseball player happened to be a member of the Indians. The above stories (first at Outsports, then at Slate) pull responses to Collins from around the sports world, and quite a number are from Indians players and coaches, and key ones at that.
For instance, here's Mike Aviles' comments:
"Jason Collins has a lot more courage than probably anybody else around right now. I'm sure there are people who want to come out and they're just afraid of the negativity of it. For him to still be in the league and going into free agency, I tip my cap. At the end of the day, you have to be who you are. Obviously, him being gay doesn't affect him being a basketball player."
Most of the comments from the Indians (and from elsewhere) key on two points: the importance of being yourself, and the unimportance of what you are when you put on the uniform and go out onto the field.
"I don't know if it's just our game of baseball. I think you're talking about life in general, which is probably more important. I've never thought about it, because if you have an Indians uniform on, and you can hit, or you can pitch, that's what we care about. That, and behaving yourself. That's what's important to me."
Baseball has the longest season in American professional sports; this year, for instance, a player on a team that plays in the World Series could see their teammates practically every day from the end of February until the end of October. Although you don't have to like everyone in the clubhouse, you have to be able to get along with them, and that means looking past any differences to find a common goal: winning games.
Vinnie Pestano (Twitter):
Jason Collins that is an entirely different kind of courage. Maybe one day this wont be news at all and we can accept ppl for who they are
Eventually I think Vinnie will be proven correct. In the world of sports, and baseball in particular, who you are doesn't matter; what matters is whether you are good at hitting or pitcher or fielding. And I think after the first few times, news of an openly gay player on a team will elicit a minor story and that will be it. As it should be.