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Major League Baseball’s “Perfect” Conspiracy

Major League Baseball umpire Jim Joyce’s blown call on a play at first cost Detroit Tigers pitcher Armando Galarraga a perfect game. Joyce’s mistake, for which he apologized, opened the floodgates on the debate of expanding instant replay in MLB. Was it an honest mistake, or all part of an intricate conspiracy plotted by MLB? And, will these events lead to more instant replay in baseball?

Honest mistake?” Baseball umpires don’t make those; baseball players do, in front of Congress.

But let’s be serious about the role of the now cult hero Jim Joyce in the instant replay debate. He’s no hero. But that’s not his fault. Joyce is merely a pawn in an MLB conspiracy to preserve the sanctity of the perfect game in baseball. Yes, it was a conspiracy, albeit a yet-to-be-uncovered one.

Why would MLB feel the need to rob a deserving player of a perfect game, while pinning the backlash on a compassionate umpire? The answer is simple: with two perfect games already this year, one by Oakland’s Dallas Braden and one by Philadelphia’s Roy Halladay, MLB felt that such gems were becoming all too commonplace. That’s hallowed ground being stepped upon much too often. And MLB had to put a stop to it.

Does the conspiracy theory sound far-fetched? Of course it does, but don’t all conspiracy theories? Look at the replay. Not convinced? Look at it again, with Oliver Stone beside you. You’ll see that Galarraga took the throw and stepped on first base well before Cleveland base-runner Jason Donald reached the bag.

This wasn’t a “bang-bang” play; this was a play that a blind man could have made correctly, blindfolded.

Sure, Joyce was “blinded,” by his duty to deny Galarraga a perfect game, a mandate obviously subliminally supplied by the MLB powers that be, probably through the drone-like voice of Joe Buck. How do I know MLB “got to” Joyce? I don’t. If I did, they’d have to kill me.

Understand this, though: MLB’s cold-heartedness was matched only by its brilliance in executing this nefarious scheme. Even though Galarraga had the defining moment of his career stolen, and Joyce’s bungled call made him the biggest scapegoat in Major League history, they both still emerged as winners.

Sure, Gallaraga’s name won’t be in the record book, but everybody knows he pitched a perfect game. Any emptiness Galarraga feels can best be cured with a tattoo commemorating his accomplishment.

MLB just won’t recognize it, thus maintaining the integrity of the perfect game at the expense of the integrity of its own umpires.

Heretofore, no one viewed umpires as sympathetic figures. Now, thanks to Joyce’s screw-up, apology, and tears, there is a new-found love for the men whose emotions have so often been limited to anger and defiance.

Umpires are human! And at least one of them is loved. Former Yankees umpire antagonist Billy Martin is probably stirring more dirt spinning in his grave than he did kicking it on an enemy umpire.

Is Joyce’s example the “human element” that purists long for? No way. Crying should never, under any circumstances, be seen on the field of play. Crying, in baseball, should be exclusively reserved for admissions of the illegal use of performance-enhancing drugs.

It’s all part of MLB’s elaborate scheme to discredit umpires, while simultaneously garnering them sympathy in anticipation of expanded instant replay talks, which will undoubtedly center around inadequacies in the umpiring profession.

MLB has cleverly directed blame on the umpires for the sudden spate of perfect games, and they have done this while, at the same time, welcoming redemption for one of the most egregious officiating blunders in the history of sports.

Are umpires to blame for the unusually high number of perfect games? Absolutely. Combine an ever-expanding strike zone with an already inconsistent one and you’ve got the makings of perfection. MLB knew it had to step in, and by any means necessary, create a smokescreen that would eventually lead to instant replay talks, and indirectly lead to a narrower, more well-defined strike zone.

And a labyrinthine chain of events involving a malleable umpire and an impeccably-pitched game seemed the only logical manner in which to accomplish it.

Somewhere, someone code-named “Deep Throat” is waiting on a park bench.

Now that instant replay is the hot topic, is there a chance that its expansion is imminent?

As with anything, except the argument as to whether Joyce’s call was correct, there are two sides to every story.

In theory, expanding instant replay in baseball would favor all parties, particularly pitchers who would otherwise have perfect games ripped from their beings. Calls, for the most part, would be correct, and a new era of statistical accuracy would be welcomed.

In addition, instant replay would spare us tearful apologies from umpires. Joyce gave us two things that should never be seen or heard from MLB umpires: an admission of error, and tears.

Of course, many would like to see no change to the instant replay rules. Baseball traditionalists, and their extremist brethren, also known as the “Status Quo Fo’s,” love to preach about the “human element” in baseball. And it’s possible that expanding instant replay would rob the game, and these purists, of their precious “human element.”

Of course, when people speak of this “human element,” they are essentially referring to umpiring “mistakes.” Of course, these mistakes often lead to entertaining arguments between umpires and managers. Baseball absolutely can’t live without these, just as hockey can’t live without fighting.

Will we ever see expanded instant replay in baseball? It’s hard to imagine baseball owners agreeing to something that’s been a huge success for their counterparts in football. Can you imagine baseball managers equipped with a challenge flag? Does it seem feasible that owners would agree to give Lou Piniella something else that he could throw? Probably not.

And can we honestly expect Bobby Cox to last more than two innings with only three challenges? It won’t happen.

There’s only one way expanded instant replay would be approved, and that’s if advertisers were allowed to “sponsor” instant replays. For example, “This instant replay review brought to you by Budweiser.”

In actuality, the chances of expanded instant replay are as likely as uncovering the truth behind MLB’s “perfect conspiracy.” I say leave instant replay alone, and leave the conspiracy explanation to baseball’s greatest storyteller and investigative reporter, Jose Canseco.

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Shock Value: The Practical Application of the Taser in Athletics

In the span of less than a week, two Philadelphia Phillies fans ran onto the field at Citizens Bank Park, with one being subdued by use of a Taser fired by a Philadelphia policeman.

Is the Taser a reasonable manner of suppressing runaway fans, or is there a better, safer way to squelch these shenanigans?

Of course there is, but nothing is more entertaining than witnessing the incapacitation, via the Taser, of a stupid fan who dares breach security for a jaunt on the playing field.

The novelty of seeing such a fan evade a number of clumsy security guards quickly grows old. When it’s time for “relief,” nothing beats a Taser-toting, trigger-happy cop eager to squeeze one off. And he usually throws strikes.

The latest fence-hopper to get Tasered was Steve Consalvi, a 17-year-old maniac who ran onto the field at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia on May 3.

After a few victory laps, Consalvi felt the stinging wrath of the Taser, and was promptly arrested, thus becoming a hot topic in ‘current’ events, while earning the nickname “Stunning” Steve Consalvi.

Before his mad dash, Consalvi called his father, asking permission to run onto the field.

In a perfect world, the younger Consalvi should have been Tased right then and there. What kind of pansy calls his father for permission before embarking on such a renegade, anti-comforming sprint?

Any sensible kid would do that.

Clearly, Consalvi’s act was not a spur-of-the-moment idea, and was thoughtfully premeditated. Had he killed somebody running onto the field, he could be facing the death penalty.

What exactly did Consalvi expect his father to say?

“By all means, son. Run onto that field, and grab a gallon of milk on your way home.”

Of course, Consalvi’s father advised him not to do it. Consalvi should have been Tased again for his egregious display of parental disobedience. So, he was lucky to escape with a single Tasing, when three would have been more appropriate.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not totally condemning Consalvi’s actions. I admire the audacity it takes for a fan to run onto a baseball field.

It gives new meaning to the term “ball four.”

And I appreciated the nod to Philadelphia Phillies history when Consalvi tasted voltage, yet was able to pull off the Pete Rose headfirst slide as he was going down, the “electric slide,” if you will.

However, due to the juice surging through his body, Consalvi was unable to place a bet on that night’s Cincinnati Reds game. 

What I do condemn is the notion that a Taser should not, under any circumstances, be used in such situations, when fans break free of security to frolic on the playing field, whatever the sport.

In fact, the Taser should always be used in such a situation. By golly, it’s only fair to a dissident fan to know the punishment before embarking on his/her scheme. And, it’s only fair that fans in attendance enjoy a Tasing for having the game interrupted. 

What’s so great about the Taser?

Its immediacy—problem solved.

Once the Taser is deployed, the situation is over, saving one or more athletes the responsibility of pummeling an unruly fan and possibly facing a frivolous lawsuit.

And a convulsing, drooling patron serves as a firm reminder to other fans that there are dire consequences to a foray onto the field.

Those who protest the use of the Taser are short-sighted pacifists, who are too concerned with the rights and feelings of a trespassing fan when the majority of their concern should be directed at the athletes themselves.

I find it nearly impossible to feel sympathy for someone who has been Tased. Scientific studies have proven a common link between all people who have ever been Tased—they all deserved it.

Consalvi’s father is one of these people. He told the Philadelphia Inquirer that he didn’t think the police should have Tased his son.

In their defense, Mr. Consalvi, the police “didn’t think” your son should have run onto the field.

In these cases, the safety of the athletes far overrides the safety of the intruder. That’s why Tasing in the most sensible option.

Why? Because there’s the possibility that only one person gets hurt, and that’s the person who deserves it.

Tasing is not an inhumane or cruel act under the circumstances. Compassion for the runaway fan is secondary in these instances, and the safety of the athletes takes precedence.

Are you a fan considering a mad dash on the field, and you want compassion? Have your girlfriend make the run.

The larger her breasts, the greater the compassion.

You can applaud such compassion as she’s discreetly fondled from the playing field.

Compassion was the last thing on Consalvi’s mind. His concern was becoming a temporary folk hero. He succeeded in that respect. The fact that he was Tased only added to his fame.

And Consalvi had to know that he would face some form of physical apprehension. No fan interrupts a sporting event expecting to be escorted politely from the playing area.

Ironically, that would likely be more of a deterrent than the threat of physical violence. But we all know physical violence makes the highlight reel.

Historically, the runaway fan seems to strike most often in baseball, football, and tennis.

Apparently, grass, natural or otherwise, is like catnip to the chemically imbalanced, temporarily crazed fan.

When is the last time a fan veered onto a basketball court, and the Detroit Pistons and Indiana Pacers weren’t playing?

You never see a fan rush a bowling tournament, or a fishing competition, or a hockey game. But don’t think it can’t happen.

In the realm of fan intrusion, anything is possible. If you believe otherwise, then how do you explain the “fan man’s” interference in the 1993 Evander Holyfield-Riddick Bowe boxing match.   

It’s imperative that all sports organizations embrace the use of the Taser, not only for its practical applications, but for its entertainment and endorsement value as well.

The Taser could be sport’s next great marketing gimmick.

How could Amp Energy Drink not want to sponsor the highlights of the latest fan Tasing?

And how about a “Taser-Cam” at stadiums and arenas, in which a lucky fan is randomly selected on camera and given the opportunity to rush the field while being chased by a Taser-wielding law enforcement officer.

What does the sporting world need most? Drug reform? Hah! Reasonable ticket prices? Phooey! Likeable role models? Bull! What it needs are sanctioned fan vs. Taser events.

Would fans flock to “Taser Night?” Heck yeah. In this promotion, the first 1,000 fans through the gate receive a replica Taser gun, while the first 100 to leave actually get Tasered.

Can you imagine the music blaring from the public address system when a fans nerve receptors feel the Taser’s fury? There’s Metallica’s “Ride The Lightning.” And anything by funk pioneers Zapp would fit the mood.

For beach music aficionados, the Beach Boys “Good Vibrations” is perfectly thematic for a good Tasering. 

Does anyone remember Johnny Kemp? You will after “Just Got Tased” blares over the speakers after a hoodlum is crippled by a blast from the stun gun.

Why stop there? There’s Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Gimme Three Steps.” The Clash’s “Shock The Casbah.” Bon Jovi’s “Tase Of Glory.” Billy Idol’s “Rebel Yell.” Boston’s “Don’t Look Back.” Bruce Springsteen’s “I’m Goin’ Down.” The Beatles “Hello, Goodbye.”

Clearly, the Taser is the best option to manage fans on the run, and it’s use should be recommended, encouraged even, to combat such situations, and provide maximum entertainment.

It’s advantages easily outweigh its disadvantages, of which there aren’t any, save for the few people who have died after being Tased. Usually, good “conduct” gets you off easy.

However, all things considered, the Taser has “shock value.”

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