- Faith and Fear in Flushing - http://www.faithandfearinflushing.com -

How Umpire Video Review Works

“Well, fuck, we have to do this [1] again.”

Again [2]? Really? Can't we just reflexively rule against the Mets like we used to [3]? It was a lot easier then.”

“I know. It was a great umpiring tradition, one we were proud to uphold. Like wearing a chest protector.”

“Remember when Chris Woodward had a home run called a triple [4] in Wrigley a few years ago? It didn't much matter in the outcome, but the point was the Mets got screwed by bad or lazy umpiring. That was great sport.”

“Those were the days. Me and Angel Hernandez laughed our asses off about it all over again during Spring Training. But now we have to actually be accountable for at least a few of our calls.”

“I dunno, fellas, it's kind of nice to take a breather in the middle of the sixth inning.”

“I know what you mean. Standing out there in the middle of a ballgame. Damn, it can get boring.”

“That's why I try not to watch too closely, especially those fly balls. We're like a thousand feet away. It's just a guess to begin with.”

“And it's not our fault they build ballparks where you can't tell right off.”

“I know! I mean did this used to happen so much?”

“Well, it's not like they just built Fenway yesterday.”

“Yeah, but who told them to suddenly stick seats on top of the fence?”

“Good point…hello, mission control? Yeah, we're ready, fire up the replays.”

“First look…shit, I can't tell. Can you tell?”

“No man, I can't tell.”

“Me neither.”

“Nope, me neither, too.”

“Hello, Manhattan? Give us another angle.”

“That one's worse than the one before. Why don't they use more cameras for this?”

“Boy, it's unclear.”

“I can't figure it out. The ball does a funny thing up there.”

“But that could be the wind.”

“The wind?”

“It does get windy here.”

“Oh come on. It's not the wind.”

“So you think it hit the sign?”

“I don't think anything. I'm just saying it gets windy here.”

“Yeah, what's up with that? It gets windier here than it got at Shea. Why didn't they cut down on the wind as long as they were going to the trouble of building a new ballpark?”

“The wind fucking distracts me. Blows in that barbecue smell during the game. You try the ribs yet?”

“Damn, those are good ribs.”

“I haven't had the ribs yet. They're really that good?”

“You're kidding. You haven't had the ribs?”

“Hey, is that the same as the pulled pork place?”

“Same one. You gotta try the ribs.”

“Can you guys keep it the fuck down? I'm trying to get HQ on the phone…yeah, we're still here. We need another angle.”

“OK, there's the ball, there's Dunn…I can't tell.”

“I can't tell either. But why are they advertising Subway in this ballpark?”

“I know! They've got all that great food in the outfield, who the fuck wants to go to Subway?”

“Is that Subway Subway, like the sandwich shop, or is that like the New York City subway?”

“What are you, retarded?”

“I'm just asking. You don't have to be such a dick about it.”

“C'mon fellas. Focus. It's Subway Subway like they've got everywhere else. And just because they have a sign for it doesn't mean they have a Subway in the ballpark. You think they buy and sell gold coins in the ballpark just because they have a sign for that, too?”

“I think they do.”

“They buy and sell gold coins at Citi Field?”

“No, I mean the sandwiches.”

“Is that like the tackiest scoreboard ad you've ever seen?”

“For Subway?”

“No, moron. The coins.”

“It is, but I mean Subway. I think they sell Subway sandwiches here.”

“They do? Really? What the fuck for?”

“Subway's pretty good. I like the BMT.”

“Yeah, but here? With that rib place and all? That's pretty lame that someone would go to Subway when you can get ribs that smell that good when the wind is blowing in.”

“What's lame is hanging a yellow sign over the field and asking us to track a white ball against it…hi, Manhattan, we need another angle.”

“Can't tell. Can not fucking tell.”

“Me neither. It really is easier watching from home.”

“I agree. Last year I had a layover in the Kansas City airport on a Sunday night. I ran into Angel Hernandez, so we went to the bar and watched that Mets-Yankees game where Carlos Delgado got screwed [5]. That was classic.”

“I'll bet Angel loved that.”

“He did. One of his favorites.”

“Do any of you guys know what the deal is with those stands jutting out into right? Shouldn't that have been a simple fly ball?”

“It's supposed to be like Tiger Stadium was [6]. The owner's son was taken there by his grandparents when he was a kid and it impressed him so much he wanted to build something just like it here.”

“Really? That's so gay!”

“I know. What if they took him to a whorehouse instead? Imagine what would be out in right field.”

“Fucking owners. Ruining baseball.”

“Just like the fucking players.”

“You said it. Thank god for us upholding the integrity of the game…hi, me again. Can you give us another angle?”

“Hey, did you see that? Definitive proof!”


“On the left. The ball just came straight down and…oh wait, that was just some jerkoff dropping his drink.”

“Or throwing it. I can't tell that either.”

“Fans are fucking ruining this game, too.”

“Thank god for us.”

“Thank god.”

“Who tells them to put their shit on the ledge? There's a baseball game going on!”

“And what about the fucktards who catch a home run ball and throw it back?”

“Yeah, I don't get that. They fight over foul balls but when they get a fair one, they think they're being big heroes throwing it back because somebody on the other team hit it. I wanna say, 'Hey, fucktards, we don't take the run off the board just 'cause you throw it back!'”

“Oh, you should say that! I mean you should actually say that!”

“Fuck, I'd say it except I'd get fucking fined. First that stupid QuesTec, now this shit with the replays. I'm not taking any chances.”

“Remember when umpiring was a sacred profession and you could screw the Mets with total impunity? God, as recently as last year Carlos Beltran hit a ball out of Dolphin Stadium that was ruled a double [7]. Nobody changed that. They showed that on MLB Network over the winter. Angel Hernandez and I shared a good laugh when it ran. He texted me: 'LOL Mets!'”

“Angel's a sweetheart.”

“He really is.”

“Listen, fellas, I'm enjoying this break as much as the rest of youse, but I can't tell shit from these replays and HQ doesn't have any more angles. So what do we do?”

“I'm stumped.”

“Me too.”

“Me three.”

“Our default directive is to rule against the Mets in these situations. We've been doing that going back to at least 1988 when Tim Teufel had a clear home run taken away [8] at the Astrodome.”

“Does it go back that far? I thought it started with that time in '95 when Chris Jones hit a fair ball that was called foul [9]. That's another of Angel's favorites. He has a whole reel of them he shows at parties.”

“Regardless, guys, that's an out-of-date directive. We can still use it for bullshit interference calls and the like, and we're still allowed to unconscionably squeeze Johan Santana [10]…”

“Six walks? How ya think superstar likes them apples?”

“…but we're supposed to get these right.”

“We are, aren't we? What did we call on the field again? It's been so long I forget.”

“Um, shit, what was it?”

“We said it was a double. Murphy wound up on third, Sheffield was out at the plate.”

“How could he not be out? He thought it was a homer.”

“Mets baserunners are always doing that, aren't they?”

“Yeah, they suck that way.”

“True. But the Nationals really suck.”

“They do. They really do.”

“So, whaddaya think?”

“Well, the Mets are going to blow things eventually. I mean, c'mon, that's their whole thing.”

“Was last year. Was the year before.”

“Yeah, but the Nationals? Are we really going to waste a favorable call on the Nationals?”

“You're right. What if they win tonight? They'll only be a hundred games out.”

“Ha! That's funny! Boy do they suck.”

“They do. What's the point of giving them a break?”

“Besides, you want these New York assholes giving us shit about it?”

“They are assholes. Do you see how they're always doing the wave here? Even in tight games?”

“I don't want them throwing their shit at me. I'm on vacation next week.”

“Already? It's only May!”

“Screw you. I'm upholding the integrity of the game here.”

“Fellas, focus! Home run?”

“Well, it's not conclusive, but shit yeah, anything to get us out of here alive.”

“Besides, it's kind of cool when we come out and twirl the finger and people cheer us.”

“Isn't it? That was way cool the other night. And you know we'll be on SportsCenter over and over. My kids love that.”

“OK, agreed. Home run. Let's go be heroes.”

“Think the rib place stays open after the game?”

Make the right call with Faith and Fear in Flushing: An Intense Personal History of the New York Mets, available from Amazon [11], Barnes & Noble [12] or a bookstore near you. Keep in touch and join the discussion on Facebook [13]. Some mostly nice words here [14] from Mostly Mets.