How Do You Say "I Hate You" To An Umpiring Machine?

The "human element" has lost its meaning in the loud, ongoing argument over officiating flubs. It really shouldn't.
Share |

After game two of the American League Championship Series, Joe Girardi addressed the press about Jeff Nelson’s blown call at second base, which extended an inning in which the Tigers went on to score twice. “I am not saying if the call was right last night that we win the game last night either,” he said, before abruptly and uncharacteristically taking a turn towards the expansive. “But in this day and age there is too much at stake, and the technology is available. That's what our country has done. We have evolved technology to make things better.”

Girardi then dodged a question about whether or not he was, in fact, Anonymous and politely told the reporters he had some New York Comic Con after-parties to attend. It was the most pointed thing Girardi had ever said, arguably, but in context and in general it made sense. More to the point, it highlighted a contrast that is increasingly impossible to ignore: if even an upright, cliche-powered android like Joe Girardi is getting feisty about instant replay in baseball, who could possibly be left to convince?

The answer, actually, is not so far away; one press room over, in the same stadium, as it turned out. Here is Jim Leyland’s predictably old school, epically gravel-voiced responds to the blown call: “I like the human element, to be honest with you. The umpires do a great job, and at the same time sometimes they go for you and sometimes they go against you. That's just the way it is. But that is the human element of the game."

Right, the human element. It’s the phrase of the moment for Atlanta Braves fans still grappling with more creative applications of the infield fly rule and Seattle Seahawks fans dealing with the guilt that comes with having an undeserved win in the standings. It’s not a meaningless phrase or a meaningless idea, but there is some passive absolution in it: Humans! They make mistakes! It’s their very essence! Their distinctive element! There is even a ubiquitous insurance commercial to this effect that runs during the games, as if to remind us of all this.

This is correct enough, if you’re going to go by such metrics as “the entirety of human history to this point” and “things one can observe during the average daily commute to work.” But can’t we be human, fully ourselves and fully mortal, and also figure out a way to screw things up a little bit less often, and less egregiously?

***

Girardi has a point. Technology is designed to erase or, at very least, hide the mistakes that we goofy, lousy, stubbornly human humans make daily. And it’s not like we’re waiting on SkyNet to manufacture the tools he’s (rather passive-aggressively) asking for. The replays that would have saved his team two runs in Sunday’s eighth inning are instantly available to anyone watching the game. This is true even with balls and strikes, a facet of the game where everyone seems a lot more comfortable with that old human non-standardization. Witness the way that TBS’s instant strike zone graphic has made everyone an insufferable backseat umpire. Any, all of this is possible.

Which is a different thing than saying that it’s necessary, or advisable, or even good. This is a question that is already receiving its passive answer: slowly, refs and umps are being supplanted (and occasionally bailed-out) by the all-seeing camera eye. They are given the power to “get it right” as the announcers proudly proclaim. And because getting it right is such a good thing, there will be a widening of the occasions and opportunities in which they can get it right. And as soon as there is a way to make getting-things-right happen very quickly, refs and umps will start to disappear. Not from nature, as beefy, argumentative men will always be with us, and those ump-ish men shouldn’t have too hard a time finding work. But it seems reasonable to assume that this is the beginning of a long fade for the officials. They will be replaced, it seems reasonable enough to assume, by robotic killing machines.

Or... well, there’s no guarantee that the new machines will kill, exactly, especially if they are properly maintained. But they’re probably coming, and we should obviously hope that they do not achieve sentience beyond the ability to interpret the infield fly rule and offensive pass interference. But while it might be wise to get comfortable with the idea of our new umpiring robot overlords, it’s tough to celebrate it, exactly.

What we’d lose in this scenario is not the human element itself, exactly. That seems safe, given that humans will still be the ones playing and coaching these games, and will find ways to introduce human foul-ups to the mix here, as we do everywhere else. But we would lose the authoritative element, and that’s something. We’d lose an element that makes sports so annoyingly relatable and recognizably human. It’s not quite as simple as fewer humans on the field leading to less humanity on the field. But it’s not necessarily all that much more complicated than that, either.

The umps are the third force on the playing field even if they don’t get a mention on your ticket stub. At best they’re the chorus in the Greek tragedy commenting with a collective voice on the unfolding drama. At worst they’re the parent/teacher/cop/boss or authority figure of your choice put on earth just to mess with you, dude.

This can be annoying, and often is, but it opens up a whole new range of sub-experiences that are part of the bigger sports-watching/sports-doing experience. Who can deny the cathartic euphoria of watching a manager lose his mind and pressure-wash an ump with a spit soaked tirade of insults? That umpire, who so deserves all this, has just ruined your day, but more importantly, stands as a totem for every prickly, arbitrary, power-addled idiot who has ever really ruined your day.

So much about sports is about projecting ourselves onto our stars. We peg our moods to their performances and find solace in the ups and downs of their careers that can at times mirror our own; we borrow some of their greatness and share in disappointment, all within a safe, vicarious range. Would it really be any fun if they got to live in an unrecognizable world of perfect, robot-delivered justice and we were stuck in this one? His desires in the moment were natural enough, but Joe Girardi might want to put Robocop in his Netflix queue, and be careful what he wishes for.


Share |

Comments

I wanted to thank you for this great read!! I definitely enjoying every little bit of it I have you bookmarked to check out new stuff you post. 3 MSP AIRPORT TAXI

Do You Want To Skyrocket Your Website Rankings, Increase Traffic, And Boost Page Rank? seo majestic

You have done a great job. I will definitely dig it and personally recommend to my friends. south florida pr agencies

Extraordinary article with astounding idea!Thank you for such a significant article. I truly acknowledge for this awesome data. legal steroids for sale

I am always searching online for articles that can help me. There is obviously a lot to know about this. free press release

You completed a few fine points there. I did a search on the subject and found nearly all persons will go along with with your blog. 3d animation studios in vietnam

This topics is my interest. Thank you. trusted blogging site

i read a considerable measure of stuff and i found that the method for composing to clearifing that precisely need to say was great so i am awed and ilike to come back again in future.. une bonne strategie d'investissement

No doubt this is an excellent post I got a lot of knowledge after reading good luck. Theme of blog is excellent there is almost everything to read, Brilliant post. free press release distribution

really located you by mistake, while I was watching on google for something else, Anyways I am here now and could just like to say thank for a tremendous Los Angeles

A debt of gratitude is in order for the post and incredible tips..even I likewise feel that diligent work is the most critical part of getting achievement.. i-love-online-casinos

I adore this online journal!! The blaze up the top is wonderful!! Handwerker Graz

wow, great, I was wondering how to cure acne naturally. and found your site by google, learned a lot, now i’m a bit clear.Tannklinikk budapest

Grâce à la voyance, aux cartes du tarot ou des oracles, aux sciences astrologiques et numérologiques, votre voyant(e) sera en mesure de vous confier des prédictions et des révélations précises sur votre avenir amour, couple, sentimental... numero de voyance

The luxury watch is a product that, let us remember, is intended for enthusiasts and collectors. Prices are therefore set according to several criteria. On the one hand, there is the rarity of the model, or more simply the law of supply and demand.  h

First You got a great blog .I will be interested in more similar topics. i see you got really very useful topics , i will be always checking your blog thanks. vintage uk clothing

I appreciate everything you have added to my knowledge base.Admiring the time and effort you put into günstiger Handyvertrag

I like viewing web sites which comprehend the price of delivering the excellent useful resource free of charge. I truly adored reading your posting. Thank you! natural weightloss

free press release
Interesting post. I Have Been wondering about this issue, so thanks for posting. Pretty cool post.It 's really very nice and Useful post.Thanks

Truly i'm impressed out of this publish south florida pr agencies

Carpet Cleaning Urbana IL
I like viewing web sites which comprehend the price of delivering the excellent useful resource free of charge.

Carpet Cleaning Urbana IL
I like viewing web sites which comprehend the price of delivering the excellent useful resource free of charge.

I have been searching for hours and I haven’t found such awesome work. assisted living in chester county

landscaping richmond hill
Greenbay Northern landscaping is located in Richmond Hill we provide service anywhere from Newmarket to North York including ;Markham, Maple and Vaughn.

new market landscaping
Greenbay Northern landscaping is located in Richmond Hill we provide service anywhere from Newmarket to North York including ;Markham, Maple and Vaughn.

Kitchen Cabinet woodbridge
Mana Kitchen is proudly serving the Toronto, Woodbridge and the nearby areas since the last twelve years with the innovative and trained team of interior designers. Moreover, our installers and administrative teams share advice and compare ideas regarding every single project. We believe that the best teacher is experience and our team uses this to deliver the best kitchen design and custom cabinetry

mana kitchen design
Mana Kitchen is proudly serving the Toronto, Woodbridge and the nearby areas since the last twelve years with the innovative and trained team of interior designers. Moreover, our installers and administrative teams share advice and compare ideas regarding every single project. We believe that the best teacher is experience and our team uses this to deliver the best kitchen design and custom cabinetry

Thumbs up guys your doing a really good job. charleston architect

superstar blogger
This is the type of information I’ve long been trying to find. Thank you for writing this information.

aurora landscaping
You raised very important points in this article. Very imformative and understandable. Have a good day. Thank

book public relations
Excellent information on your blog, thank you for taking the time to share with us.

mobile press release
I would also motivate just about every person to save this web page for any favorite assistance to assist posted the appearance.

Bankroll management is one of the maximum critical components of having a bet and with out a stable plan to manage your financial institution, you can find that you fail to make a income. http://www.perfectbettingonline.co.uk/

goevo
I am continually amazed by the amount of information available on this subject. What you presented was well researched and well worded in order to get your stand on this across to all your readers.

newmarket landscaping
Greenbay Northern landscaping is located in Richmond Hill we provide service anywhere from Newmarket to North York including ;Markham, Maple and Vaughn.

I havent any word to welcome this post.....Really i am inspired from this post....the individual who make this post it was an extraordinary human..thanks for imparted this to us. sati.com

laser clinic toronto
The Ideal Dream Laser Clinic is a cosmetic-medical center offering only certified, result-oriented hair removal, Skin rejuvenating, body countering and weight loss services for both men and women. Our team includes certified technicians, Registered Dietitian and specialized skin and laser consultants. We offer the highest level of safety and service in an environment where the main priority is your safety, health and privacy. Our clinic located in heart of north York , Yonge and Steeles area close to public transit. 5 min walk to center of Yonge and Steeles, 88 Steeles Ave. East Toronto.

Samira Laser Clinic in Scarborough should be your only choice for laser hair removal. Our precision equipment carefully removes your hair while keeping your skin soft and glowing. We specialize in laser hair removal, facials and microdermabrasion. We also perform waxing and sell laser hair removal machines!weight loss program scarborough

mobile tire shops
This article is an appealing wealth of informative data that is interesting and well-written.

Oliver Terry
What a good blog you have here. Please update it more often. This topics is my interest. Thank you.

Extraordinary article with astounding idea!Thank you for such a significant article. I truly acknowledge for this awesome data.صوت الخروف

Very nice writing. I will keep these tips in my mind. essayrepublic.com This blog has really peaks my interest. Thank you so much.
revitol acne treatment cream

And this doesn’t simply suggest purchase plays, followers and reposts. For the first-rate results, give yourself a social increase across all your social media to emerge as a true on-line sensation. https://buyscplays.com/soundcloud-plays

outcall escort service Amsterdam
I want you to thank for your time of this wonderful read!!! I definately enjoy every little bit of it and I have you bookmarked to check out new stuff of your blog a must read blog!

This evaluation will provide you with a clearer concept of the way you could play roulette games free of charge and the advantages related to making plans out your roulette gaming strategy. play roulette online

buy research chemicals
Evenings are usually all people need adequate lighting. They have to look at various objects around him clearly and well.

Atlanta Executive Transportation Services
Really impressed! Everything is very open and very clear clarification of issues. It contains truly facts. Your website is very valuable. Thanks for sharing.

copyright free images
First You got a great blog .I will be interested in more similar topics. i see you got really very useful topics , i will be always checking your blog thanks.

Murcia
This is my first time visit here. From the tons of comments on your articles.I guess I am not only one having all the enjoyment right here!

I wish more writers of this sort of substance would take the time you did to explore and compose so well. I am exceptionally awed with your vision and knowledge. The Author Incubator