Baseball Widow has noticed with displeasure the increasing frequency with which the words tainted and baseball are appearing together. It's not just steroids; we see "taint" used to describe the current state of revenue (im)balance, to question baseball leadership, to scrutinize web-based statistics, and even to describe the impact of international relations on baseball games.
"Taint" has become the catch-all accusation that appears whenever anyone is displeased about any aspect of the game. Are the Atlanta Braves' gazillion consecutive division championships tainted because the rosters have included a cokehead, a bigot, and a repeat DUI offender? Is a game "tainted" by a bad call? Is a series? A sport?
Online commentators were already discussing the "tainted" World Baseball Classic--Cuba was initially excluded, talent was dropping out, arbitrary pitch counts were imposed. Now Baseball Widow is enduring the "T" word as a result of a questionable call. Give it a rest already!
Braves fans would love to put a giant asterisk by the 1991 World Series Championship because Ron Gant was wrestled off of first by Kent Hrrrrbeckk.
One play doesn't make a series, though--it doesn't even make a game. People will remember that Japan lost the game after a bad call; they won't remember the intervening details: that Japan didn't score with the bases loaded in the ninth or that the USA won in the ninth with base runners to spare. Just like in the cases of Merkle's Boner or Buckner's Folly, history seems quick to break the bounds of logic in pursuit of the snap judgment. Post hoc ergo propter hoc: it's a logical fallacy, not a motto by which to live.