The Summer of Blunder
Maybe it is something in the air.
Perhaps it is some strange atmospheric confluence that has conspired to make it happen. Whatever it is, nobody can deny it.
This has been the summer of blunder in sports.
Rarely, if ever, has there been such a rash of embarrassing officiating mistakes. Think about it.
It began with Jim Joyce’s admitted monumental gaffe that cost pitcher Armando Galarraga a perfect game. At least Joyce, widely considered one of the best umpires in baseball, was man enough to admit he’d blown the call.
Then came the World Cup, with the United States getting jobbed out of at least one goal and maybe two, followed by England having a clear goal taken away in its match against Germany.
In an ensuing match, Argentina’s Carlos Tevez was several feet offside when his side scored a goal that shouldn’t have been allowed against Mexico.
Then, getting back to baseball, there was home plate umpire Gary Cederstrom calling Detroit’s Johnny Damon out Saturday night on a ninth inning pitch that was outside from here to Saginaw. Seriously, it is impossible to understand how the pitch could have been called a strike, and later, Cederstrom, like Joyce, admitted he’d blown the call.
And imagine, we haven’t even touched on the NBA Finals officiating yet.
So what exactly is going on? Why have officials in all sports fallen into this strange, horrendous slump? It is difficult to understand.
But there is a clear solution. Utilize the technology on hand. In baseball, it’s easy. They already have it ready on home run calls. Now allow each manager one challenge per game to be checked out by instant replay. Some people will scream it will slow the game up too much, but please, give me a break.
Baseball already does a great job of slowing itself up, beginning with pitchers taking too much time between pitches and hitters loosening and tightening the velcro on their batting gloves and pitching coaches trotting to and from the mound.
Instant replay should be utilized in soccer, as well, especially during the World Cup, where every goal is so precious. You have a camera zeroed in on each net and when a controversy arises, you have the prefect way to settle it. It sounds so simple.
Unfortunately, FIFA seems as stubborn as major league baseball when it comes to advances that would obviously help its sport.
OK, guys, keep arguing against it. Keep acting as if you’re back in a sporting version of the Dark Ages.
In the meantime, don’t be surprised by more summers of blunders.
— Steve Bisheff