What the hell is the human element?

The Human Element…If you are familiar with this term you are obviously a sports fan.  Because in my 37 years on this earth, sports, in particular professional sports is the only place I hear this.  However, I Googled the “human element” and there is actually a humanelement.com.  And this is its Mission Statement: “Human Element solutions are processes for addressing and resolving human issues in the work place—lack of accountability, unhealthy competition, infighting, malicious compliance, turf wars, etc”

Okay so this tells you how to cope with humans in the workplace…However, it sports it essentially means: “They’re humans, so they are going to screw up and we need that in sports because we’re…humans”

Here is a prime example of the human element in sports with a human moment:



Jim Joyce, the umpire took accountability of his actions which was looked down upon by his colleagues because they believe they need to have an aura of “above the players”, almost like a police officer with an enormous ego.  However, years later MLB adopted instant replay for what are commonly referred to as “Bang, Bang” plays such as this. And it shows you how hard it is to get these calls right.  Especially in a social media age where everything is being scrutinized.  And don’t think for a moment that these umpires, referees, and officials don’t know that.  Because…


Here is an example of the officials on the field getting the call right, but due to overwhelming scrutiny of how they always “seem” to have questionable calls, there should be a automatic replays on certain plays.

A couple years ago NFL and then NCAA Division 1 College Football mandated that every touchdown and turnover could be subject to replay.  And this is what happens:


The problem with the “Human Element” in sports is that we expect people to not be human.  We get pissed when the guy making $20 million a year strikes out to win the big game, wondering how can this guy make so much to fail in the most pressure packed of moments.  Not realizing the billions the league makes, and the hundreds of millions the team makes.  That $20 million is only a fraction.

But if the guy that makes $120,000, a year being a MLB  umpire gets one out of 10,000 calls he makes a year wrong, he has to worry about his life.  What is next?  An automated strike zone?



Okay, what is next, robotic players………….


So when is gambling not gambling?

Before I take you through this excruciating and frustrating story of how the world of Daily Fantasy Sports has essentially lied to the country, or more so the world about what they have been doing, I give you this:



As it sits today, the Attorney General in NY came out and ordered a cease and desist for any “bets” being placed by NY state residents.  Initially Fan Duel and Draft Kings were going to court to fight this, however, Fan Duel has since complied.  Reason being, the best possible outcome for Daily Fantasy sports leagues is that this stays a state to state issue.  Because if it were to be federally regulated, then it would be subjected to the same taxes that other gambling entities are subjected to, which is approximately 70% of its earnings…

The latest blow came as the NBA, MLB, NHL, and MLS, along with owner of the New England Patriots Robert Kraft and the owner of the Dallas Cowboys Jerry Jones were cited as Defendants in a class action lawsuit in Florida before the U.S District Court.

To say this is a fluid situation would be a massive understatement.

In my opinion, there will be a time when we  look back 20 years from now and  either scoff how ridiculous it was when  gambling on professional sports was illegal.  Or we are sitting around the TV that is streaming via Facebook on Thanksgiving  and we say: “Remember when there was Daily Fantasy Sports?”







How Social Media made the New York Mets National League Champions! Kinda…

First, let me start by stating that my father raised me a fortunate New York Giants football fan and an unfortunate New York Mets fan.  Growing up in Rutland, Vt.  I was very limited in how many games I could watch.  I think it was channel 11,back when you only had 13 channels and had to get up and change the tv by turning a dial.  Back then a child was actually the remote control before there were remote controls.  Instead of pressing a button, your father, or in my case grandfather would simply say: “Keith, change the channel to 5”.  Anyway, back then I can recall the late, great Ralph Kiner calling games with Tim McCarver, before McCarver would go on to do games nationally and be ridiculously crucified by the media and fan base for how “awful” he was as a color commentator.  Just to now realize how great he was during this age of Harold Reynolds and Tom Verducci on Fox.  Back then though, I would see Gary Carter, Ron Darling, Daryl Strawberry, Kevin McReynolds, Howard Johnson, the amazing and unfortunately short lived greatness of Dwight Gooden, and my favorite, Keith Hernandez.  Keith now more famous for his role on Seinfeld, but people don’t realize how great he was as a first baseman.  Those were truly special years.  Unfortunately there were only a few of them and I was a whole 8, 9, and 10 years old at the time.

Flash Forward to 2015.

This year, the New York Mets were coming off their 8th consecutive year of not making the playoffs and 6th year of sub .500 performance.  In the 80’s I watched drugs and alcohol destroy my Mets. Now, I am just watching a lack of talent…And then came July 29th.

For the majority of 2015, the Mets were hanging around the .500 mark thanks in part to their young pitching staff, which included social media darling, the Dark Knight, Matt Harvey.  I could write about how Matt had to remove himself from social media due to his behavior, but that isn’t anything new. What happened on the aforementioned date was truly exceptional and cringe worthy.

Because the Mets were hanging around the .500 mark with about 2 months left to play in the regular season, allowed the Mets to stay in contention for first place in the NL East, only trailing the underachieving Washington Nationals by a few games.  The trade deadline, which was July 31st at 4pm, was surely going to be the “Hot Stove” for the Mets fanbase it had been dying for!

The Mets needed a bat, an outfield bat preferably with some home run potential.  On July 29th, social media went crazy as the Mets had reportedly traded for Carlos Gomez, a center fielder for the Milwaukee Brewers.  The Brewers would receive stud Mets pitching prospect Zack Wheeler, who was on the DL with Tommy John surgery, and SS/2B Wilmer Flores.  One problem though, as this trade was being reported everywhere on social media, the Mets were playing the San Diego Padres. And who was playing SS? Wilmer Flores.  The events that unfolded next were nothing short of crazy, yet spectacular TV.

Usually when a player is traded during a game, which is nothing new, the player is pulled from the game and informed usually by the PR man for the team.  But that wasn’t happening as the crowd at Citi Field in Queens was buzzing about the trade.  Because god forbid fans actually watch the game they are attending instead of reading about something on their phones…But I digress.

Instead, Flores was due to bat in the bottom half of the inning and as he came up to bat, this 22 year old kid, who had been with the franchise since he was 16, who had been absolutely crucified by the fan base and press as he was forced into a position, SS, that was his unnatural position, received a standing ovation from the 30,000 in attendance…And he had no idea why…

Now it isn’t necessarily clear as to how he found out, but this is how it all went down:

Fast forward to after the game:  GM Sandy Alderson says there is no trade.  He then blames social media for causing this whole thing.
Manager Terry Collins asked about it after the game stated that when he asked why was Wilmer Flores was crying? Someone said he had been traded. Collins then asked: “To who and for what?”

Turns out there was a trade in place but Gomez failed his physical.  Then at 3:58 on the day of the trade deadline, the Mets traded for Yoenis Cespedes. The next night, the Mets were playing the 1st place by 3 games Washington Nationals. The Mets won in the 12th inning on a walk off home run hit by, Wilmer Flores…Yoesnis Cespedes would go on and hit 17 home runs as a Met during the remaining part of the regular season and the Mets won their first division crown in 9 years.

Social media may have informed Wilmer Flores that he was traded when he wasn’t. But Wilmer Flores then informed us that the players really do care when we think they don’t.

Thanks Wilmer for the seminal moment I’ve been waiting for since I was last told: “Keith get up and change the channel”.