Jim Souhan analyzes the local sports scene and advises you to never take his betting advice. He likes old guitars and old music, never eats press box hot dogs, and can be heard on 1500ESPN at 2:05 p.m. weekdays, and Sundays from 10 a.m.-noon.
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So baseball's braintrust watches its umpires post a lower batting average during the postseason than the pre-Kate-Hudson A-Rod, and comes to this conclusion:
``Ah, everything's fine.''
Everything is not fine.
The networks cover every angle in remarkable detail, in HD clarity. The better the broadcasts get, the more often we see the umpires fail.
One fine writer, Joe Posnanski, expressed sympathy for umpires, revealing that he wanted to be an umpire when he was young.
Here's my problem with sympathizing with umpires, and with failing to correct their many mistakes: The kind of people who like the idea of being big-shot, big-league umpires are the kind of people who need checks and balances.
To me, too many umpires are like parking-lot attendants: They recognize that they are in the only position of power they will ever hold, and they want to make the most of their moment in authority.
What is the most common personality profile of a big-league ump? Desperate to get into, or stay in, baseball. Desperate to be a part of what happens on the field, instead of a silent arbiter of the action. Desperate to show off, with flashy strike calls and emotional out calls. Eager to argue, to reassert their power. Sensitive _ and here is where I am sympathetic _ because every game, for them, is played in hostile territory.
That personality profile leads to umpires not only missing calls, but defending their wrong calls, or refusing to meet with other umpires to consider changing calls.
Replay is necessary in baseball. Without it, baseball will continue to look like an anachronism next to the other major sports. Without it, umpires will continue to blow calls, then defend their mistakes.
I've defended Bud Selig occasionally, saying I think his lack of gravitas hurts his image as much as his actual decisions. This is a classic Selig mistake, though, ignoring an obvious problem when just about every baseball fan in the country is sickened by it.
C'mon, Bud. Stop making baseball look like the sports version of a horse and carriage.
Anyone else notice that, every week, Brett Favre comes up with a new injury? Usually, he drops a mention of his new affliction in an interview with a national writer, like, ``Yeah, Peter, that leprosy cost me a few toes, and I wasn't sure if I was going to play, but, you know, I toughed it out. Awesome.''
In the Packer game, it was his groin. He said Wednesday that he told coach Brad Childress and backup quarterback Tarvaris Jackson to be ready to replace him.
Does anyone believe that? Does anyone believe that Favre would come out of a game in Green Bay with a minor injury?
He's played wonderfully, and his press conferences are spellbinding, but Favre seems to believe the public is as gullible as P.T. Barnum suggested.
It's nice that Joe Mauer won the Rawlings Gold Glove for fielding excellence, but, to me, this is the postseason award of least value.
I've been in too many manager's offices when the ballots are handed out, and listened to too many managers and coaches base their votes on how someone fielded in the handful of games the managers and coaches saw that player in person.
Mauer might be the best defensive catcher in the American League, but this is an award won by reputation, not performance.
-The Twins should look into signing third baseman Pedro Feliz. He's not great, but he's a good fielder who drove in 82 runs this year, and he could hold the position until Danny Valencia is ready.
-For today's paper, I wrote about the MCTC basketball program being disbanded after this season. I'd have a lot more respect for President Phil Davis if he just declared that he didn't value the program instead of hiding behind a student council and never taking charge of, or responsibility for, the decision-making process.
-Wolves GM David Kahn waited until after the draft to hire a coach, and then hired a coach who insists on running the triangle offense despite having very few players who can run the triangle effectively. Jonny Flynn is a shoot-first point guard and Al Jefferson is a low-post player who requires time and space to be effective. Neither is a classic triangle player.
Of course, that's now why the Wolves lost by 382 points at Golden State. They lost by 382 points because they displayed no pride, no guts, not toughness. It's one thing to lose because you lack talent; it's another to lose badly because you are soft.
Upcoming: I taped the latest Unsportsmanlike Comment with Reusse, and it should be posted on startribune.com soon. Tomorrow morning I"ll be on am-1500 with Reusse at 6:40, and on WJON at 7:14.
As always, you can follow me on Twitter at SouhanStrib.
I'll be at the Wolves' game tonight with a few hundred other masochists.
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