As mentioned in the recaps this morning, there was some serious controversy brewing in last night’s Jays-Rays game. And wouldn’t you know it, Joe West and his crew were at the middle of it.
Watch the play that sparked it here. The original call on the field was that Adam Lind — who was pulled off the bag by the throw from third — failed to make the tag on Sam Fuld who was running to first. Joe West was the first base ump who called Fuld safe. And he was right on the play, it seemed.
But wait: Angel Hernandez — an umpire so bad that he could only be on Joe West’s crew — came over from second base to dispute the matter. Joe West changed his mind and called Fuld out. This brought Joe Maddon from the dugout who was promptly ejected by Joe West.
Blown calls happen because baseball has decided that instant replay is the antichrist, but the ejection was nuts. In that situation, where the umpire who did the ejecting thought the guy was safe in the first instance and allowed himself to be overruled by a guy much farther from the play, how does he then turn around and eject Maddon for arguing? I don’t care if he used the famous magic words that rhyme with “clock ducker,” it strikes me that a little bit of humility is in order at that point. But Joe West doesn’t do humility.
Of course after the game West admitted he was wrong on the call, saying “it appears that we may have erred, but we did everything protocol right by the book.”
Screw the protocol. Get the call right. And even if you don’t, at least appreciate the awkwardness and ambiguity of the situation and refrain from running a guy for not respecting your auth-or-i-tah.
Last Tuesday night, the Braves hosted the San Francisco Giants at SunTrust Park. They lost 6-3. An Alabama man named Marcus Stephens almost came away a winner, however. At least if stealing a $4,500 golf cart that belongs to the Braves makes you a winner, which in some circles I suppose it would.
Stephens lost, however, when he crashed the cart into a metal pole, attempted to flee on foot and was apprehended by Cobb County Sheriff’s deputies. This all went down at 1:40AM Wednesday morning. The report doesn’t mention anything about alcohol being involved but I’ve read enough stories like this to make educated guesses about such things.
That being said, Stephens seems relatively composed in his mugshot:
I mean, yeah, the eyes look a bit red and puffy and the overall vibe he gives off is “I came to the game as part of the Sigma Nu reunion (Auburn University class of ’06, GO TIGERS!),” but I expected much worse after reading the headline.
Anyway, dude is out on bail. Somewhere, someone is really super proud of him, I’m sure.
The New York Times has a blistering report on the New Yankee Stadium Community Benefits Fund. The Fund is the charity the Yankees created in 2006 as a means of making up for the negative impact the construction New Yankee Stadium had on the surrounding community, primarily via its taking over 25 acres of parkland.
The idea of the Fund was a good one: to distribute $40 million in cash grants and sports equipment, and 600,000 free baseball tickets to community organizations in the Bronx over four decades. And it has been distributing funds and tickets. As the Times reports, however, the manner in which it has done so raises some red flags. Such as:
- Charitable donations have, in an amazing coincidence, often gone to other charities which share common board members with the New Yankee Stadium Fund;
- Funds have gone to many wealthy groups in affluent parts of the Bronx far away from the Stadium while the area around the stadium remains one of the most impoverished in the nation. For example, a private school in a wealthy part of the borough and a rec center in a gated community have gotten a lot money that, one would think anyway, could be and should be devoted to organizations closer to the ballpark that are in greater need; and
- There has been almost no transparency or oversight of the Fund. Reports which were supposed to have been submitted have not been. And no one, apart from the Times anyway, seems to care. The Yankees certainly don’t seem to. Indeed, as the article notes, the team has worked hard to keep the Fund’s operations out of its hands. They just got their new ballpark and write the checks and hand out the tickets. Everything else is someone else’s problem.
Cronyism in private philanthropy is not uncommon. As is a lack of oversight. Often it’s the best connected people who receive the benefit of such funds, not the people most in need. This is especially true in charities whose creation was not born of a philanthropic impulse as much as it was born of a need to put a good face on some not-so-good business dealings.
If the Times’ report is correct — and the lack of anyone coming forward to dispute it on the record despite the Times’ requests that they do suggests it is — it appears as if the New Yankee Stadium Community Benefits Fund is one of those sorts of charities.