Greg Gibson is a 41-year-old Ohio-born man, who has worked as an umpire for some 13 years.
On August 23, 2010 he made a controversial, potential game deciding call, against a team in the heat of a vicious pennant race. If that is not enough, he consulted nobody for a second opinion.
In the top of the eighth, Ryan Howard fielded a bunt by Michael Bourn and dove to tag Bourn. Bourn ran out of the base path to avoid the tag, and proceeded to first base where he was called safe.
Bourn was definitely out of the three feet zone allowed to base-runners to run off the path. Despite the pleas from players and Phillies skipper Charlie Manuel, who ended up being tossed from the game, Gibson stuck to his guns—no questions asked. Even Chase Utley, who never complains, had a few words with the hard-headed, umpire.
This calls into my mind the question: Is this replay resistance really about time, or an act of pride, and refusal to accept the fact that you make mistakes?
Now, as a writer, I know how hard it may be to accept mistakes in an industry which requires efficiency and accuracy. But come on, Gibson, you've got to know you're wrong.
This isn't McDonald's, we can't just bring the hamburger back, Gregory.
Gibson has made other controversial calls this year also.
On April 24, 2010, Gibson, the same umpire who called home plate for the first instant replay game, was umpiring for a Twins vs Royals game, when he emphatically called Scott Podsednik out at second on a force play, ending the game, when Podsednik had clearly beat the throw from J.J. Hardy after the shortstop bobbled the ball.
I understand you have to stick to your guns in a moment that demands decisiveness, but lets have some balance here. It was, at least, worth a second look.
What's more interesting, however, is the deja vu factor that comes into play. Exactly two months earlier, the same exact play happened with the Phils on the opposite side of the play, and Gibson, the first base umpire, ruled against the Philadelphia Phillies.
In the bottom of the second inning, Shane Victorino grounded out to the pitcher, and when faced with a tag, veered off the base path into the grass, sprawling out to touch first, but was called out by Gibson. This lead to yet another argument, and another tossing of Charlie Manuel.
Although it had no bearing on the game, those two plays have some feeling as if Gibson is biased against the Phillies.
Either way, this guy may have earned himself into the same, mansion-sized, Philadelphia doghouse as Kobe Bryant, Adam Eaton, and Santa Claus.
They may have to set a time and challenge limit, like the NFL, but at this time in the year, it's crucial not to let pride and/or bias decide games.
For more from Vincent Heck please visit: www.vincentheckwriting.com
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