No joy in Mudville
Today is the anniversary of the first publication of the famous ode to baseball, “Casey at the bat.” I must admit, I knew nothing about the poem until I was in my late teens/early 20’s at one of my favorite NYC watering holes, a bar downtown called Mudville. Being the friendly loquacious person that I am, I started talking to the bartenders, and I asked the origin of the bar’s name. I was then told the story of the poem, and promptly thereafter set out to research it.
If you’re a fan of baseball and never heard of or read ‘Casey’ or even if you are not a baseball fan but enjoy well written poetry, you will enjoy the poem.

It takes me back to my teenage years when my friends and I would ride bikes or walk to Shea Stadium to watch the Mets team in the days of Gooden, Strawberry, Jeffries, Hojo, El Sid and Ron Darling. Life was so amazingly simpler then.

Armando Galaragga pitched the game of his life last night. In over 100 years, 100+ games each year, only 20 perfect games have been pitched. Ever. That’s an average of 1 every 5 + years. One every 700+ games. Galaragga would have been number 21, but an umpire blew the call.
This is an example of why baseball has been maligned in the past and will continue to be.

Baseball commissioner Selig and the baseball hierarchy caters to a cross-section of fans who consider themselves ‘purists’ who want to keep the game rooted in the past and disdain technological changes. The reason I bring this up is simple; the umpire’s blown call should have been subject to replay and should have been overturned. To not have the option of using available technology to reverse a clearly wrong call in 2010 is absurd.

The fact that the umpire is the only person not able to view a replay of the play in a stadium full of people is ludicrous.

And while we’re on the subject, my opinion is that Bud Selig is an incompetent commissioner of the sport and should have been replaced a long time ago.

I don’t think people should be threatening the umpire’s family as reports suggest, and it is hard to blame the guy; he made a bad call. He manned up and apologized, but replay would have helped him get it right. There is no joy in Mudville tonight.

Baseball, which only recently approved replay on home run calls-albeit in limited circumstances, needs to finally step up and address this issue. The next time something like this happens, it may not be a decision affecting one player or a mediocre team like the Tigers; it might be a wrong call in the playoffs that decides a champion.

Mr. Selig do something right and do it quickly for once in your career.

The hoopla around the blown call overshadowed two things; one was the great catch to start off the ninth inning by former Yankee prospect Austin Jackson. Jackson (right) went to the Tigers in the Curtis Granderson trade, and while I have always liked Granderson’s game, I think Jackson is going to be a future star. The way he has started this season seems to bear that out.

The other thing that happened last night was the retirement announcement of Ken Griffey Jr. For those who didn’t see him in the prime of his career, Junior was, for the entire decade of the 1990’s, and even into the 2000’s, one of the best players in baseball. Griffey, A-Rod, Bonds. Those were the only contenders.

Griffey was definitely the best defensive centerfielder I have ever seen, with the perfect left handed baseball swing. The only I was unhappy about with him was his dislike of the Yankees, specifically Steinbrenner. His all out playing style, 600+ home runs, and the fact that he is one of the only upper echelon players of the last 15 plus years not tainted by the steroids scandal makes him an automatic Hall of Famer. He will be missed.

Has anyone else noticed that pitchers are suddenly dominant again? Are we finally in the post-steroids age of baseball?

I’m out; still hungry like this Yankees fan.