Thursday, August 28, 2008

This Is Why I'm a Fan

I really wasn’t going to watch. I can’t watch anymore. If I do, I’m going to start pulling out what’s left of my hair.

The Mets play this season has been enough to give me a heart condition but yet I still watch and as of late they’ve really turned things around. That is until the bullpen comes in; then it gets interesting.

Such was the case Tuesday night in Philadelphia where the bullpen blew a 2 run lead and then lost the game in extra innings. I said I can’t possibly watch the game last night; it would drive me mad. Against my better judgment, I watched the opening inning to see the Mets open the game with a 1-0 lead, only to loose it after the bottom of the inning 2-1 (the Phillies added another run in the 2nd inning for a 3-1 lead). I went downstairs to make dinner.

As I sat there with my tuna melt and a beer, the bug bit me again. I HAD to watch...I had no choice! When you’re a fan, you have to watch. You have to cheer, and you have to cry occasionally as your team ebbs and flows it’s way through a season.

The wonderful technology behind satellite television and the MLB baseball package allows me to see my team almost every night and when I do I can see the local NY broadcast (complete with Gary, Keith, and Ron) which is a special treat. I don’t have to wait until the highlights come up on Sports Center’s rundown, just tune in and begin to become a fan again.

I’m reminded of this as Major League Baseball becomes the final of the four “Major” sports (Football, Basketball, and Hockey) to embrace the technology of instant replay. Those of us who watch the games on TV have had instant replay for years (technically since the 1963 Army Navy Game) and can review a particular plays intricate parts with slow mo, close ups, and reverse angles. If you have one of those new fangled DVRs you can even control how many times you see these. But the one thing that made baseball the greatest of the four sports is the human factor of the umpires. They occasionally blow a called strike or a close play at first but your team will get its share of calls too.

For now replay will only be in effect for homeruns that are either foul/fair and balls that go over the fence or hit the top. But for how long? When are we going to put cameras to review balls and strikes? Ever since baseball was invented, man has had to use his eyes to make the proper call. It’s the reason a fiery manager bolts from the dugout, turns his hat around, and kicks dirt on and umps shoes. It’s the reasons fans boo unmercifully and others count their blessings that they got a call to go their teams way. This is one of the cores of baseball....any team can go out any day and win a game (or loose a game as the case may be).

Clearly I am not in favor of replay even if my Mets got a few Home Runs stolen from them by umps who called their balls foul. Baseball is tradition, baseball is pure, and baseball is America. And dammmit I’m not ready to trounce on America....I ain’t no Commie!

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