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K-Rod Blows Save; Ump Blows Call; Mets Avoid Sweep

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Any Mets fans watching the almost sweep of the Mets in the four-game series in San Francisco this weekend should have been listening to Tony Bennett. If the Mets didn’t leave their hearts in San Francisco this weekend, maybe they should be looking for them on the team bus or the airplane that brought them there. It was a weekend of poorly played games and only a blown call by an umpire stopped it from being a sweep.

Having written about the notorious blown call by umpire Jim Joyce that robbed Armando Galarraga of the Detroit Tigers of a perfect game, I have been bothered by the idea of umpire incompetence in Major League Baseball. In San Francisco yesterday, umpire Phil Cuzzi joined the Joyce Fraternity with a call that cost the Giants a win and sweep over the Mets.

Travis Ishikawa, who had already tied the game with a two-run single off Francisco Rodriguez, was coming home on a bouncer to David Wright by Freddy Sanchez. Wright’s throw to home was high, but catcher Henry Blanco got the ball and brought down a tag. The problem is that Cuzzi called Ishikawa out but replays showed that he was safe. Even catcher Blanco said as much after the game. Giants’ manager Bruce Bochy argued the call to no avail.

So here we had a blown save, a blown umpire’s call, and the Mets going on to get the win when red-hot rookie Ike Davis doubled home Jason Bay as the winning run in the 10th inning. As a Mets fan I am happy the team avoided the sweep, but not with the way they did it. The team looked lethargic this weekend, and the Mets’ brass needs to face the fact that K-Rod is looking more like BS-Rod (Blown Save) everyday. With the trading deadline quickly approaching, it is painfully clear that the Mets need bullpen help as much as they need a starter.

Getting back to umpire Cuzzi, he insisted after the game that he thought Ishikawa was out, but that he would take a look at the replay. Cuzzi and Joyce and all the other horses and king’s men can’t give a win back to the Giants, or a no-hitter to Galarraga, or correct the countless other missed opportunities to all the players and teams that have been robbed by bad umpiring over the years.

Once again, this is a golden opportunity for Major League Baseball to think about expanding the use of instant replay. I have argued for its use on a limited and equitable basis in all professional sporting events, but never has it been more obvious that baseball has to be the place where it gets done as soon as possible.

Umpires are indeed human and thus likely to make mistakes. Why not put a system in place that will limit the cost of human error? If such a system were in place, my Mets would have lost that game yesterday, but maybe there would have been other games won over the season and in the years to come. The time is now for fans to get the message out to Major League Baseball: we need instant replay for questionable umpire calls and we need it now!

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About Victor Lana

Victor Lana has published numerous stories, articles, and poems in literary magazines and online. His books In a Dark Time (1994), A Death in Prague (2002), Move (2003), The Savage Quiet September Sun: A Collection of 9/11 Stories (2005) and Like a Passing Shadow (2009) are available online and as e-books. He has won the National Arts Club Award for Poetry, but has concentrated mostly on fiction and non-fiction prose in recent years. He has worked as faculty advisor to school literary magazines and enjoys the creative process as a writer, editor, and collaborator. He has been with Blogcritics since July 2005, has edited many articles, was co-head sports editor with Charley Doherty, and now is a Culture and Society editor. He views Blogcritics as one of most exciting, fresh, and meaningful opportunities in his writing life.
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