The San Franciscan Chalk Circle 

The Giants escaped with a victory last night thanks to an umpire's blown call in the top of the ninth. Everyone knew the ball Teixeira hit for a go-ahead bases-loaded double was fair. Everyone but first-base ump Tom Hallion, whose name sounds like a cross between a demon and bad breath.

That's the prevailing sentiment, from the Metroplex to the Bay Area, from SportsCenter to the Sporting Green. None of the press reports this morning, however, consider what Jon Miller said on the radio broadcast last night. Reminding me of Sherlock Holmes at the peak of his powers of counterintuitive observation, Miller said the conventional wisdom -- that the ball was obviously fair because you could see the chalk poof up into the air -- couldn't be true. Why is this, Watson? Precisely because there is no chalk on the foul lines at Mays Field, my good man!

The lines are painted on, according to Miller. Paint doesn't poof up into the air when struck by a baseball. Bits of grass do, and moisture from a foggy night does.

I'm not saying the umpire was right, mind you: I haven't even see the damn play. (Are they going to post it on the sfgiants.com multimedia highlight page? The world waits breathlessly.)

But those who want to convince me it was a blown call because of the chalk cloud need to try something else. Until then, just this thought: all you calling for a ceremonial defenestration of Armando Benitez, are you really ready for Jeremy Accardo, closer, after last night?


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