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Fox and the Civilizing Effect

Umpire and Manager Intercourse
AP Images

Say what you want about Fox, they are doing an great job televising the World Series. And certainly one of the most interesting features are the live microphones they've placed on umpires.

So far, at least, no dirt-kicking, side-spitting, in-your-face encounters. In fact, an interaction between The Ray's manager Joe Maddon and home-plate umpire Tim Welke in Game 1 was gentlemanly, if a little inscrutable.

Watch this excerpt (thank you MBL.com). You'll see Maddon, being quite UN-gentlemanly, when he thought Ray's pitcher Cole Hamel's had committed a balk while picking off Carlos Pena.

But about 40 seconds in, Maddon and Umpire Welke have this polite, but baffling exchange:

Maddon:
My concern is this. He doesn't read. He doesn't read. So he's going home all the way right there, and then he decided to throw to first base. That's why I've got it as a balk. If he was a reader, I have no dispute whatsoever."

Welke: I understand what you're saying. The only thing I look for is if I see a step. His feet start this way, together, and he ended up stepping that much closer to first base.

Obviously Welke is talking about the alleged balk. But Maddon? What is this, "He doesn't read?"

If you, gentle reader can translate, please do so.

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