…and, I’m ashamed to say, I got pulled into it myself.
I miss one Red Sox game—I thought yesterday’s contest between the Sox and Astros in Houston was a night game, but it was played in the afternoon—and this was my punishment. Writing about Karine Jean-Pierre’s idiotic statement that the Supreme Court, charged with interpreting the Constitution, issued an “unconstitutional” ruling in Dobbs, I noted in a comment,
[T]hat’s not what unconstitutional means, as SCOTUS uses it, and how SCOTUS uses it is what matters. SCOTUS said that Roe was a misinterpretation of the Constitution, which is not the same as saying the decision was unconstitutional. Unconstitutional would mean that SCOTUS was exceeding Constitutional authority to make the decision.
And this is what makes her statement incompetent and pernicious. She’s not a lawyer, she doesn’t understand those distinctions, and she’s ensuring that much of the public now is confused too.
If an umpire makes a wrong call, out when a player was safe, one can argue that the call was wrong, was inept, was bad. One cannot say the umpire violated the rules, however, because the umpire is empowered to make those decisions.
Little did I know, because I had not seen the game, that it contained an umpire’s call that did violate the rules, and that an umpire is NOT empowered to make.
In the game I missed, All-Star slugger Yordan Alvarez led off Houston’s third inning by taking a ball from Red Sox pitcher Rich Hill. Strike one, looking, followed by Alvarez fouling off the next pitch for strike two. The home plate umpire, Jim Wolf, then called another strike, the third of the at bat. But he didn’t utter the crucial words “You’re out!” So Alvarez remained in the box, Hill threw a rare 1-3 pitch, and Alvarez grounded out.
An umpire may not permit a batter to keep batting after three strikes. That’s against the rules. Ridiculously, none of the other three umpires flagged the mistake, either because they weren’t paying attention either, or worse, they noticed but didn’t have the guts and sense of duty to point out the mistake to their colleague.
Next on the list of inexcusable incompetents are the Red Sox pitcher and catcher. They didn’t notice either. Nor did the Boston players on the field, or they didn’t care enough to mention it. Manager Alex Cora didn’t see notice the extra strike: inexcusable. Nor did his bench coach who is there specifically to save Cora when he neglects an obvious move. None of the Red Sox players in the dugout or the bullpen knew how many strikes had been called.
And, as far as I can determine, none of the four broadcast teams describing the game mentioned it.
All of this is inexcusable. True, the botch didn’t have any substantive consequences, but it might have. That the fiasco did no harm is just moral luck. The four umpires should be suspended. Hill and Pawlecki, the Sox catcher, should be fined by the Red Sox. Cora and the Red Sox coaches should be disciplined by the club as well.
Meanwhile, I still can’t figure out how so many people could be so incompetent at the same time, with something as simple as counting to three.