(Posted: 3/20/13 P.M; e-mail update 3/21)
It has taken more than half a decade for Bud Selig to do what a growing number of fans, players and press box people have done: support the use of video replays to check the accuracy of close baseball calls. The commish now says his opinion has “evolved” and he’s considering expanding replay usage to include all calls except balls and strikes. The catch – the expansion, if he follows through, won’t go into effect until next season. The delay is in keeping with the hilarious hyper-caution Selig and his people have exercised on this no-brainer of a step forward.
Selig’s head-in-sand stance is strikingly similar to that of baseball’s favorite non-sporting team, the U.S. military. Consider the “instinctive” feeling of General Martin Dempsey, Skipper of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, as to why the military has been slow to crack down on decades of sex abuse in its ranks: After 10 years of war, Dempsey said, “there is certainly a risk we might be a little too forgiving” of defendants who have fought for their country. The record book shows the ‘forgiving’ of sexual predators is a shameful military tradition that goes back far longer than 10 years.
The infamous Tailhook convention scandal in which naval and marine officers sexually assaulted 83 women and seven men occurred 22 years ago this September. Its disclosure was supposed to change the military attitude toward such offenses forever. But not a single prosecution resulted from the criminal spree. And now we know the number of reported sexual assaults has jumped 30 percent in two years (2010-2012) alone. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel says there’s “no silver bullet” that will end the predator game right away; just as Bud Selig believes baseball can’t find a way to insure accurate calls.
The bewilderment expressed by the military front office involves suicides as well as the sex crisis; 350 active-duty troops took their own lives in 2012. The Pentagon says it doesn’t understand why. It has yet to address its forgiving record compiled abroad: the aversion to prosecuting the often unforgivable misbehavior of service members on foreign duty toward the persons and customs of local residents. The emerging picture is of a military that has managed to obscure up to now how porous are its problems.
- - -
Don’t Look Now…but the Indians have won 18 of 22 and five straight. After their 10-inning, come-from-behind 10-8 victory over the Mariners Monday – making them 5-0 in extras – they were hailed on MLB-TV (perhaps prematurely)as this year’s “Cinderella Team.”
Reason to Fret: It’s too early in late May to talk of a contending team in crisis. But dominant closer Jim Johnson has given Buck Showalter a legitimate cause for concern: In his last three appearances going into Monday night’s game, Johnson blew two saves and earned a loss, key factors in what became a five-game losing streak for the O’s..
Still Smiling: We award the managerial prize for grace under stress, to Dodger Skipper Don Mattingly. During the LA-Braves game in Atlanta Sunday, John Smoltz, doing color on TBS, noted that Mattingly has been under pressure to get his last-place, high-payroll team moving. When asked about it, Don, his job in jeopardy, was able to smile. “I’ve had plenty of time to get used to it,” he said.
- o -
(The Nub is a team effort skippered by Dick Starkey. Comments about blog issues are welcome when addressed to the skipper t email@example.com. Previous Nubs may be found byscrolling below.)