The Umpires Were Right After All


I was in an adjourning room where my parents and girls were watching today’s game between the Atlanta Braves and New York Mets. Listening, I could tell something unusual had happened. I wasn’t sure what had happened on the play, but I could tell that when the dust settled the Fox announcers were adamant the umpires incorrectly ruled. Repeatedly, the self-assured announcer expressed his bewilderment over the final ruling.

The play in question came in the 5th inning with the scored tied at 3. Martin Prado of the Braves was on first base with one out. Jason Heyward hit a line drive toward the Mets’ Jordany Valdespin. Valdespin dove at the ball and immediately the third base umpire, the crew chief, ruled Hayward out as a result of Valdespin’s diving catch. Prado, believing the ball had not been caught, reached second and then was trapped retreating for first base where he would be the last out in the inning-ending double play. After the play, the umpires conferred and ruled that the ball had not been caught on the fly and, therefore, Heyward was safe at first. However, they also awarded Prado second base.

The announcers agreed that the umpires made the right call in awarding Heyward first as the replay showed the ball bouncing off the grass before Valdespin’s glove grabbed it. However, the announcers were abundantly confident Prado should be called out because he was tagged retreating to first. The announcers went on and on lamenting the bad call which, of course, went against a New York team.

I joined the family watching the game a couple of innings later when, to my surprise, the announcers shared from the rule book how umpires are to handle situations like this controversial play. The announcers agreed that the umpires got it right after all. Less than an hour earlier they were so sure they knew the game better than the umpires as they sat high above the game looking down on the players and umpires in more than one way. As baseball fans across the country watched and listened, the announcers had openly questioned and criticized the men in blue. Yet, in the end it was the umpires who were vindicated as the rules were carefully read and then understood. The announcers had lacked a full understanding of the rules.

This evening I saw a photo which produced a memory that led me to utter a brief and straightforward prayer under my breath, “God, you got that one wrong.” As soon as I uttered those words it hit me. Here I was looking at a situation in life and concluding that God had messed up. God had made the wrong call.

I quickly thought back to the Fox announcers. I was no better. I had concluded I knew better than God. In reality I didn’t have full knowledge of the rulebook.

As for God, His ways are perfect. I don’t always see it that way because I don’t have a full understanding of life. One day—someday, I may get to see the bigger picture and then I will understand that God had it right after all.

 

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