A poor call at second base by umpire Dana DeMuth during the first inning of Wednesday night’s World Series contest between Boston and St. Louis was overturned after DeMuth himself and the game’s five other umpires conferred (at the request of Red Sox manager John Farrell) and concluded that Cardinals shortstop Pete Kozma never, in fact, had possession of a feed from teammate Matt Carpenter.
The efforts of crew chief John Hirschbeck and his colleagues represent a commitment to reason and sense atypical not only of baseball umpires, but also of notable arbiters from history. Fortunately for all civilization, Wednesday’s Game One crew met at the conclusion of Boston’s 8-1 victory to reverse some other poor decisions from history.
Here are three examples of same, accompanied by John Hirschbeck’s comments regarding each:
Socrates found guilty of corrupting Athens’ youth, introducing new gods.
As a crew, we want to get everything right. Looking this over, with the facts at our disposal now, what we saw was less Socrates attempting specifically to corrupt young men and more trying to establish the basis for all of Western intellectual tradition.
The harrassment, torture, and execution — on charges of heresy — of thousands of Jews and Muslims during the Spanish Inquisition.
In this case, as a crew, we’re aware there’s a cultural relativism to which we might fall prey. Do I, an individual in the 21st century, understand the perspective of a church official in the 15th? No, I don’t. At the same time, what we’re looking at here is the severity of the punishment. So we got together and I ask, “Are you a hundred percent sure that murder, basically, is an unjust punishment for a heretic?” Each guy said, “I’m a hundred percent.” When they got to me, I said, “I’m a hundred percent, too.”
The conviction and execution of Ferdinando Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti for armed robbery and murder.
This is a situation where, do we know precisely what happened that night at the shoe factory in Braintree, Massachusetts? No. Do we know that S and V — that’s what I call them, for short — do we know that S and V were armed when arrested? Yes. And that they were avowed anarchists? Yes, also. Finally, do we know unequivocally that Italians are dangerous and shifty? Obviously. As if I even have to say it. The problem is, you look at the testimonies here, the ballistic evidence, even the potential motive — it’s not a clear case. We overruled presiding judge Webster Thayer. We “DeMuth-ed him,” I call it.