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Is there a TBS/MLB conspiracy to downplay bad calls?

Oct 13, 2010, 12:00 PM EDT

Some people get accused of being conspiracy theorists. I tend to get accused of erring too far in the other direction and not giving enough credence to conspiracy theories. Because sometimes they are true, after all.  My defense: I’m an Occam’s Razor kind of guy and the simpler the explanation is usually the better explanation in my experience.

However, over at The Platoon Advantage, The Common Man has a conspiracy theory that I’m not inclined to dismiss as quickly as I usually dismiss such things. He notes that there weren’t as many replays of close plays in last night’s Rangers-Rays game as you might expect, and then comes out and says why this might be:

To The Common Man, it suggests that perhaps TBS was asked not to make a
big deal out of potentially missed calls. This would seem to jive with
an earlier play in the San Francisco-Atlanta series, where Buster Posey
was clearly out at 2B, but announcers refused to acknowledge it, in
spite of the video evidence to the contrary (and Posey saying after the
game “it’s a good thing we don’t have instant replay).

If this is the
case, it seems likely that the commissioner’s office has made conscious
decision not just to ignore the loud cries for expanded instant replay,
but to tacitly suppress them by denying these voices additional evidence
with which to make their case.

I thought the Posey thing was totally bizarre, and was made even more bizarre when Mat Winer, the studio host, said he thought Posey was safe and was basically laughed off the stage by David Wells, Cal Ripken and Dennis Eckersley.  Winer would be beholden to a TBS/MLB mandate in ways that Eck, Ripken and Boomer really wouldn’t be.

I’m not saying that TCM is right about this because, like I said, Occam’s Razor is a powerful weapon. It may just be the case that the production crew was thinking about other things or the pitchers were working too quickly — Cliff Lee was at any rate — to shoehorn in as many replays as you usually see.

But it is . . . curious, is it not?

  1. BB 18 - Oct 13, 2010 at 1:15 PM

    I agree with you on that. I can’t tell for sure if Utley got hit, it might have knicked some fabric or a sleeve or grazed his hand. Or maybe the ump thought it hit him. The announcers were acting like he dove into the pitch or put on a show; the ump told him to take his base and he did. The call was made before Utley even made a move for first. The slide was probably a bad call. It looked like he was out, but from the ump’s perspective, Utley’s foot beat the ball to the bag, but from the other side of the play you could see that his foot was actually off the bag. Tough call, but it falls into a forgivable category for me. The touching third thing was ridiculous. You could see his toe on the bag as he went around.
    The home run was weird too…it seemed pretty obvious that the ball was well over the wall, I don’t know why they dwelled on it for so long.

  2. Utley's hair - Oct 13, 2010 at 1:17 PM

    A bit of an edit:
    “This is why the home team announcers (except for TMac and Wheels, but Franzke and LA would be fine) should get the mic’s in the post season as well.”

    Carry on.

  3. Chris Fiorentino - Oct 13, 2010 at 1:20 PM

    I was talking about Dusty not having the pitcher appeal that Utley missed the bag. The announcer seemed to KNOW that Utley missed the bag and they wanted the appeal. The one guy was even saying…”They have to appeal before the pitch or it is a moot point………they have to appeal……UGH. Now it’s moot” I was thinking…they know he probably touched the bag…that’s why. But even Dusty admitted after the game that he thinks Utley missed the bag but he didn’t know at the time. Then Rolen and the ump say he didn’t. So who knows. Didn’t matter.

  4. Jonny5 - Oct 13, 2010 at 1:21 PM

    He was probably bored. Yeah, and as many times as I saw it, I still don’t know if it hit him. From the front it looks like it grazed his hand, from the back it looks like it missed. Anyway what’s he supposed to do? At least there weren’t theatrics involved.

  5. Chris Fiorentino - Oct 13, 2010 at 1:21 PM

    agree on Wheels, but what’s wrong with t-mac?

  6. Chris Fiorentino - Oct 13, 2010 at 1:23 PM

    “I don’t know why they dwelled on it for so long. ”
    Because those announcers, whether sub-consciously or outright purposely, were rooting for the Reds to win. Maybe they wanted the series extended or maybe they just hate the Phillies…I know Joe “Tomahawk Chop” Simpson isn’t a Phillies fan. The final out of game 3 felt like being at a funeral…it was a serious downer.

  7. Utley's hair - Oct 13, 2010 at 1:29 PM

    Might be more guilt by association and/or the Harry standard, but I just can’t stand him. And they REALLY need to adjust the in-booth camera work or he needs to consult a fashion coordinator.

  8. Jonny5 - Oct 13, 2010 at 1:40 PM

    Dude, Tmac and Wheels is an upgrade from what they have in the playoffs. At least they have excitement.

  9. RichardInBigD - Oct 13, 2010 at 1:42 PM

    And masquerading as Mike Maddux, too…

  10. Jonny5 - Oct 13, 2010 at 1:43 PM

    I’m a huge fan of Gary Matthews. He’s got a good amount of perspective from a hitters angle. It’s like a breath of fresh air when he comes in.

  11. seanK - Oct 13, 2010 at 1:45 PM

    it was missing equally as much for all games

  12. Chris Fiorentino - Oct 13, 2010 at 1:51 PM

    I don’t know if I could handle Wheels saying “middle-in” 50 times a game in the playoffs. I’d rather listen to Buck and McCarver.

  13. Utley's hair - Oct 13, 2010 at 1:51 PM

    Like that’s saying much. Now we have McCarver and Buck–who will undoubtedly be pulling double duty with the Birds across the street on Sunday–to look forward to. Yay. Ugh.

  14. Jonny5 - Oct 13, 2010 at 1:58 PM

    I hate Buck. McCarver? ehh. He’s pretty much ok. He was a backstop for the Phills. That counts for something

  15. Utley's hair - Oct 13, 2010 at 2:11 PM

    So you’re a masochist, huh?

  16. Chris Fiorentino - Oct 13, 2010 at 2:15 PM

    I’d rather have static than Wheels, McCarver or Buck. But if I had to choose to listen to 2 of the 3, I would choose Buck and McCarver.

  17. Jonny5 - Oct 13, 2010 at 2:27 PM

    Well, although I’m used to being put through emotional pain at home, I don’t enjoy it to that extent. I have been trained to “enjoy” my anguish and physical pain. Like last night when I was on my hands and knees on my wifes new tile floor, sanding wood putty on trim and caulking it. My knees and back still hurt. But I “enjoyed” it since she’ll shut the hell up about it when it’s done.

  18. ie1950 - Oct 13, 2010 at 2:29 PM

    some of these calls that the umps have made are so bad a blind man could see they’re wrong…..Bud (a-hole) Selig is a bafoon of a commissioner…..he doesn’t want instant replay because it would 90-99 % of the time show that the umps were wrong with their call…..last night was a joke with that run that vlad scored on from second….the man was OUT at first plain and simple…..these umps need their eye sight checked on a regular basis….hey umps it’s NOT about you just do your frigin job right!!!!!

  19. dprat - Oct 13, 2010 at 2:38 PM

    I give the real Frank Zappa a pass on the “conspiracy theory nutjob” tag because: 1) as a young man, he actually was entrapped by LA cops on some misguided bullshit porno charge, thus causing Zappa to be forever after looking over his shoulder for the next time government was out to screw him, and 2) he was a musical genius. As for this FrankZappa, I’ll ignore the conspiracy stuff until after he proves he can “Shut Up ‘N Play Yer Guitar.”

  20. Jonny5 - Oct 13, 2010 at 2:42 PM

    At least it wasn’t a game changer. Again.

  21. Tony A - Oct 13, 2010 at 2:49 PM

    I don’t think it’s inappropriate to think that the commish might exert influence over broadcasters via his owner cronies. Let’s face it, Joe Sportscaster is always one whim away from the unemployment line, just like the rest of us…

  22. Route36West - Oct 13, 2010 at 10:19 PM

    I dont think it had anything to do with stopping replay expansion. I think they tried to down play the bad calls bc there have been so many bad calls so far in the playoffs. MLB doesnt want there flaws to be continually pointed out. No one does. So yea they probably did have something to do with the replays not being shown but I think it was more out of vanity then an evil plot to stop replays..
    Quote of the day nominee?

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