Friday, October 14, 2005

For those who missed Wednesday's ALCS game and haven't read a newspaper since, here's the short version: A controversial call in the ninth inning led to a White Sox victory. White Sox batter A.J. Pierzynski struck out on a fastball from Kelvim Escobar, but he ran to first base anyway. There were two outs; and catcher Josh Paul had already rolled the ball toward the mound as the Angels began walking off the field. Then came the surprise: The umpires called Pierzynski safe.

The home plate umpire made the call. He said the ball had hit the dirt before landing in Paul's glove -- in which case Paul should have thrown the ball to first base. The replay angles aren't clear; the ball seems to change direction, but it's not clear that it hit the dirt. Pierzynski did the right thing: He ran, because he didn't hear the umpire call him out. But as he ran toward first base, everyone in the stadium saw the umpire make a fist: the universal signal to call a batter out.

Mistakes are part of any game. Umpires are human, and they're going to blow calls. Sometimes it'll go your way, sometimes not. You have to be able to absorb those calls and win despite them; if the game hadn't been close, the White Sox wouldn't have won. But there's also no denying that, if Paul had kept the ball, he could have thrown Pierzynski out regardless of the umpire's call.

It doesn't matter what you're playing at; some rules are universal. You've got to learn them and you've got to play them -- whether it's baseball, football, office politics, or marriage counseling. And as is often true, you can learn it best from poker: "You want to win the hand, you have to stay in 'til the end."


Post a Comment

<< Home