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April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review June 15, 2008 12 Sivan 5768

The End of Umpire?

By George Will


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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | "Baseball is the only thing besides the paper clip that hasn't changed."
       — Bill Veeck


One must say it ain't so. Think of the designated hitter, which illustrates why opposition is a sensible reflex when tinkerers propose changing baseball.

A familiar proposal is now being revived, one that involves lessons pertinent to politics, lessons about how careless advocacy can fuel the imperialism of progress. The proposal is for instant replay to assist umpires, who have recently made some bad calls on baseballs hit out of the field of play.

One was first correctly called a home run, but then was ruled a foul ball. Another was hit over the fence but bounced back onto the field and was ruled in play, so what should have been a home run became a double, and so on.

It is not news that to err is human, and so are umpires. Now, however, those ancient truths coexist with a new fact: Seemingly everything is visually recorded. After all, everyone has a camera in the phone in his or her pocket. So we can do something— can't we? — about imperfection. That which can be measured can be perfected, can't it? And extremism in pursuit of perfection is no vice, is it?


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Because umpires' errors are displayed in television replays, perfectionists want replays available for umpires during games, at least for "boundary" calls: Was the ball that left the field fair or foul? Did a fan interfere with the outfielder?

Some problematic calls by umpires are an unintended consequence of the designs of new, fan-friendly ballparks. Some outfield fences have idiosyncratic contours, and some fences are low enough to allow outfielders to reach into the stands after balls — and to allow fans to compete with players for possession of them.

People who oppose video replays are disparaged as baseball "purists" by disparagers who presumably are pleased to be known as "impurists." "Luddites," "antediluvians" and "mossbacks" are among the terms applied to people who say the four words that always infuriate impatient reformers: Let's think this through.

The problem is that reformers will not restrain their metabolic urge for perfection. Listen, as they seem not to, to the logic of their language. They say: If you can replay something, you can get it right — judge it infallibly — and that is all that matters. This is an argument for using replays on every close call — plays at the bases and home plate, hit batters. And: Did an outfielder catch or trap a sinking line drive, etc.?

But it is not true that cameras positioned around a ballpark can answer every question, or even be more definitive than are baseball's remarkably skilled umpires, who render judgments close to a play. And even if cameras could deliver certainty, it is foolish to think that all other values should be sacrificed to that one.

In the NFL, coaches' challenges, which trigger replays, contribute to the sense that a game consists of about seven minutes of action — seriously: Use a stopwatch, and you will confirm that — encrusted with three hours of pageantry, hoopla and instant-replay litigation.

Wanting to spare baseball from promiscuous use of replays does not indicate hostility to "change." Barack Obama promises "change" as though that would be a novelty in this nation in which tumultuous change is the only constant. Even conservatives do not (quite) believe that all change, of any sort or size, at any time, for any reason, is regrettable. The problem is, progress always goes on too long, leaving us waist-deep in unintended consequences. Soon we are saying "adios" to cherished familiarities. (It was a ballplayer — Clay Carroll, a former relief pitcher for the Cincinnati Reds — who asked, "How do you say 'adios' in Spanish?")

Baseball, like many sports, involves fast, muscular, semi-violent striving. There are inherent limits to how much precision is possible in enforcing rules. Or desirable: Human error is not a blemish to be expunged from sports, it is part of the drama.

Baseball probably will and probably should adopt replays, but only for the few "boundary" decisions. And only after considering how to make this concession to technophiles a prophylactic accommodation, one that prevents an immoderate pursuit of perfect accuracy until the rhythm of the game is lost and the length of the game is stultifying. People impatient for replays should remember the admonition from Johnny Logan, once a Milwaukee Braves shortstop: "Rome wasn't born in a day."

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

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