By Mike Steffanos
Thanks for all of the positive feedback on yesterday's post. I tried to have a little fun with it, because I'm frankly tired of writing about the type of losses we have been witnessing. Even yesterday, as thrilling as the ninth inning was, I found myself wondering where was this energy the previous 8-1/2 innings?
One email that I thought put things into decent perspective was from a father who had been experiencing some ups and downs with his teenage son. He decided, after reading my post, to be happy that his kid was doing a hell of a lot better than poor Metsie. That seemed to me a fairly healthy attitude.
Another thing that put this lousy baseball into perspective for me was the news from Reverend Al's wife that Al was back in the hospital after suffering a stroke Monday night. He's in my prayers, and I'm sure that many of you that got to know Al from his comments here echo that thought.
On a different topic, the news that umpire Mike Winters, who escalated the whole ugly scene with Milton Bradley by calling him a "f***ing piece of sh**, was suspended without pay by MLB was surprising, but definitely welcome. I have to admit that I expected MLB to do what they always do, blindly defend their umpires. Sure, all this really amounts to is a one-week suspension, but at least it sends a message to major league umpires, who are rapidly becoming part of the problem rather than a solution. Over and over, we've seen them place their egos in the forefront rather than trying to diffuse situations.
Remember when umpire Chad Fairchild walked out to the mound when Glavine was shooting for his 300th win against the Brewers? Fairchild didn't like Glavine's body language when he was squeezed on a few pitches. A good umpire would have let it go, understanding that a ballplayer trying for a huge career milestone was more important to the game than the guy behind the plate. Not these days. To see that fat blowhard walking out and jawing at Glavine just seemed to epitomize what's wrong with today's umpires.
There was a time when umpires recognized their place in the game, but that's long past. There is nothing more annoying than watching rabbit-eared umps bait ballplayers into being ejected. Not that the players are blameless, but umps have to understand that the game exists because of the public's desire to see the ballplayers, not them. Their function at a ballgame is the same as a waiter in a restaurant -- they are there only to facilitate the experience. Sometimes you have to bite your tongue and understand where you fit into the big pictures, but the huge egos of modern day umps won't allow for that. More on this at a later date.
Finally, I was contacted a couple of weeks ago by a Mets fan who has a web page with some audio clips of the original Mets broadcast team -- Ralph, Bob and Lindsey. The site can be found here. Enjoy.