For anyone that followed Henry Schulman’s advice on Twitter to take in “The Third Team” on MLB Network, you got to take a look at the World Series from the perspective of the umpires. To the casual sports fan, I’m not sure how much this interests them, but I should hope this interests avid baseball fans — anytime you get an exclusive look and listen to the game, you become that much more knowledgable about what goes on. Besides the obvious of benefit of getting to relive the 2012 World Series, I believe there was only one thing the program did, and it was an important one thing: the humanization of the game.
Doesn’t matter the sport, any big fan of any franchise can become so engulfed in the activities that we forget we are taking part in games with human beings that actually live their own lives when their time on stage as our entertainment has finished. I am a holder of the belief that it is important to be reminded that this game involves people, and not robots (much as some might fight for the “robot-umps”), and just as a lot of the players are trying their best to get the job done for the team, so are the umpires of the game. It’s easy to forget, but when it’s remembered, for me, it brings about a greater sense of appreciation and admiration for the game. If you’re asking specifically how this does it for me, I direct you to the broadcasted conversations of the umpires with the managers, in Game 2 when Dan Iassogna makes the call at the plate and when Detroit Manager Jim Leyland comes out for an explanation and you hear something like:
“Hey, Jimmy, [Posey] got him right at that mark.”
“There’s no way he got him there”
“Yes, he did, Jimmy. He got him right there.”
Or even in a double switch with Bruce Bochy.
“So, Casilla’s out, Arias is in, batting 9th…. and, Romo’s in batting 3rd.”
“Yup, Romo throws nothing but strikes” –Boch
They share a laugh, the game moves on, and you see the locker room interactions and see that they realize there is a lot of pressure on them to be mistake-free, and overall in this World Series, they did pretty well. If you haven’t had a chance to watch the hour-long program, I recommend it, especially if you miss 2012 WS highlights, this program includes those as well.