Wednesday, June 10, 2020

Review of "The Worst Call Ever!," by Kyle Garlett and Patrick O’Neal

Review of

The Worst Call Ever!, by Kyle Garlett and Patrick O’Neal ISBN 9780061251375

Five out of five stars

Even when meant to be exact, officiating is not

 Major league baseball keeps records of errors players make as it is a fundamental component of all sports. Some of those mistakes decide games, even those involved in determining champions. Histories of baseball mention them. For example, there is the famous “Merkle’s Boner” in baseball that determined the winner of the National League pennant in 1908.

 Being human, the people that officiate games in the major sports also make errors, most of which are simply making a bad call. One of the most famous was the safe call by first base umpire Don Denkinger in game six of the 1985 World Series. It arguably determined the winner, although the St. Louis Cardinals seemed to simply give up after that call. More recently, there was the erroneous safe call made by Jim Joyce in what would have been the last out of a perfect game.

 Published in 2007, this book was written after replay review was instituted in the NFL but before it was first used in major league baseball in 2008. It features bad calls made by officials in all of the major sports, including golf, auto racing and even curling. It is an interesting history of what has gone wrong in the inexact science of arbitrating professional sports.

 While the advent of replay challenges, some of the most egregious errors that have happened since have been corrected at the time. However, there are still errors and no-calls that manage to elude the watchful eyes of all aspects of the video review. There was no event worse than the one now known as the “Fail Mary,” a bad call that decided the winner of an NFL game. So officiating is still an exact operation.

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