Try this one, if you will. Umpires can botch home run calls (hello, Angel Hernandez) and get away with it, more or less. Sometimes, they can botch pitching change rules (hello, Fielden Culbreth) with a little help from managers who don’t know the rules quite yet (hello, Bo Porter). But who knew our beloved human elements (aren’t you getting exhausted of that tiresome phrase and its customary accompanying rhetoric?) could miss a no-questions-asked application from the latest inductee into the Salivation Army?
You knew something was wrong with Roy Halladay last season. A great pitcher doesn’t drop off a table—even at age 35—the way Halladay did last season, when he looked like an imitation of himself in the early going, sat out some time with shoulder trouble on the disabled list, and returned to look about a good as he’s looked this season to date. Which isn’t even close to good, an outing or two otherwise notwithstanding.
Jackie Robinson suffered few baitings more vicious than those led by Ben Chapman, the former outfielder who managed the Philadelphia Phillies, when Robinson broke into the Show with the 1947 Brooklyn Dodgers. And, yes, it really did get to a point where Chapman’s job was on the line, and he posed for photographs with Robinson—clearly ill at ease—in a bid to turn down the heat he had brought himself and his team.