I’m on an Amtrak train right now, and as the northeast corridor flies by at…uh…how fast does this train go? Probably not as fast as it could…or would in Europe. But it gave me time to watch For the Love of the Game. I refuse to admit whether or not I shed a tear or two, but it got me thinking admit another Kevin Costner baseball movie: Field of Dreams.
The fun of Field of Dreams is that every man I’ve ever spoken with candidly admits to crying. It is the only movie I know that all men are okay with admitting to crying while watching. (In fact, How I Met Your Mother included the following as their excerpt from “The bro code”during the credits.)
Years ago, I shared with my roommate (and essentially my second brother), Nick, my copy of Field of Dreams. It took him months to watch it, but once he did, he sent me this email.
I thought the first 98% of Field of Dreams was utterly asinine.
I was perplexed as to why it was nominated for Best Picture and, more importantly, why you told me to watch it.
I have never cried during a movie.
I cried at the end of Field of Dreams.
The best explanation I could give was that every son always wants time for “one more catch with dad,” either literal or metaphorical, and even if dad is still with us. We all want to be a kid again and just…play catch.
Plus, that James Earl Jones speech is awesome. So is the Burt Lancaster speech.
Man I gotta watch that movie this week…
It’s the MLB playoffs. I love baseball. Love love love love it. And in may ways, I’m a purist. I am not entirely sure how I feel about instant replay. I’m not the biggest fan of interleague play — which I’m going to have to get over, since it will happen every day next season (and until the leagues even out again. Hello two more expansion teams?) But I like the wildcard.
And yes, I like the second wildcard. I like the fact that the winning the division matters now. I like the fact that teams have to try. I like that we didn’t have a clue what the playoff picture was until the final game of the season this year. (But I think the higher seed opening on the road is dumb. I do not foresee that lasting, though the other innovations of this season probably will.)
But I write this post to discuss more bad officiating. Only to defend the umpires. The Infield Fly call of the other night. (For those who did not follow the events, follow that link.)
As many have pointed out — including Curt Schilling in the link above — this call was probably not why the Braves lost. It may have completely changed the complexion of the game, but I doubt it.
But now I shall defend the umpire. I do think the call was wrong. I do think an outfield umpire should NEVER make an infield fly call. But we cannot blame the left field umpire. We need to remember that umpires usually are in 4-man crews. Only for the postseason are there outfield umpires. This umpire, Sam Holbrook, is not used to seeing what a popup looks like from the outfield. He spent 162 games (actually, I don’t know how many games umpires actually work in a season…but it’s definitely over 100…) playing 3/4 of them from an infield position and 1/4 of them behind home plate calling balls and strikes. I imagine his non-thought process (I say “non-thought” because I imagine it’s instinct after 11.5 years of MLB service…) was “This is an easy popup in front of me. That must be an infield fly,” because it ALWAYS is an infield fly when there’s an easy popup in front of the 3rd base umpire. He forgot he wasn’t at 3rd base on Friday night.
Did Sam Holbrook make the wrong call? Probably. Did it cost the Braves the game? Probably not. Still a much better call than, y’know, this one.