NY Sports Day
William Coppola

Scout’s Take: Inside Job

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With the latest warning to pitchers to not throw at Astros’ players this season, we are about to see another change in the game we once called our “National Pastime.”

Throwing to hurt a batter is stupid and should never be a “part of the game.” Throwing inside is definitely a part of the game. Commissioner Rob Manfred said those who do will be dealt with stiffer penalties than in the past. He has now opened up a ‘Pandora’s Box’ of scenarios. Pitchers will throw at Astros hitters that they think cheated. That is gonna happen.

What happens if a Yankee batter is hit by one of the Astros’ pitchers? Are the Houston pitchers under the same restrictions as the other teams. Looks like the Astros’ hurlers have been rewarded with a free pass to pitch inside on opposing hitters, hitting them accidentally and then getting a lesser penalty than the rest of baseball.

The players union has taken this scandal to a new level of reverse justice by protecting the guilty. They are the reason the Commissioner is powerless to impose harsher punishment on the cheaters. When are we going to see a governing body have the courage to stand up to corruption?

The whole state of baseball will never be the same. That happens with everything in life. Things change. What was normal yesterday is passé today under the normal evolution of things. The problem with all of this Astros stuff is that it is not part of the normal process of change. This has taken on a snowball effect now as it keeps gathering more snow and speeding down the mountain and doesn’t look like it has reached its apex yet.

Geez, enough of that for now.

I have been watching MLB network and other sports shows. Listening to talk radio and reading columns over the past few years. There is one thing that has been a constant belly aching from “the experts,” that to me is more annoying than the cheating story. That is the never ending complaining about umpires and having to make the calls perfect. Give me a break with all the whining. I have nothing but the utmost respect for umpires at any level. I have had the pleasure of umpiring at the high school and older amateur level for a number of years. It is hard work and the only one who will tell you, “Hey man, good job today” is your partner.

I listen to so-called experts in the media and ex players, who never umpired, tell everyone everything from “We don’t need someone calling balls and strikes, technology will do a better job” to claiming to know what an umpire is thinking. Today my brain almost exploded when someone on MLB offered an analysis, under the guise of expert knowledge, on how umpires shy away from a strike call on an 0-2 count and do the same for a call of ball four on a 3-0 count. Claiming: “We have the numbers to prove that theory.” WHAT?

From being around umpires for most of my life, be it playing, coaching, umpiring or scouting, I can tell you that that is so wrong. Umpires see the pitch and call what their trained eyes have just seen. It takes many years of experience and seeing things at lightning speed to be able to make a call. Do they get it right every time? Impossible. These cry babies who never umpired find it easy to blame all that is wrong in the game, on the men in blue. The game was never meant to be perfect. That’s what sets it apart from all other sports.

“Holy smokes, after seeing that play 12 times in slow motion and 5 different angles, that guy was safe by 1/4 of an inch and that bum called him out!” Some will say: “Great, they reversed the call.” Real baseball people will look at the reversal as another nail in the coffin of what we once called our National Pastime.


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