From the University of Texas at Austin comes more good news for baseball this summer: According to a study performed at the school, home plate umpires are racist. (But don't worry, it's not what you think. They're racist towards pitchers, not batters. Or, wait...is that still bad?)
Having analyzed 2.1 million umpire calls between the 2004 and 2006 MLB seasons, the researchers working under Daniel Hamermesh, a professor of economics, "found that umpires call strikes more for pitchers of their race and balls more when the pitcher is of another race" (according to Time magazine via MSNBC.com). If you guessed that the lowest percentage of strikes were called when the pitcher was black and the umpire was white...congratulations! You hold at least the vaguest grasp possible on the reality of American culture!
On the plus side, though, Hamermesh and his team found no bias regarding the race of batters and no bias at all--towards batter or pitcher--in three instances: on a full count (good for you, otherwise racist umpires), when the crowd was large (ha! fraidy cats), or when the umpires' calls were being monitored by the QuesTec system.
That last mitigating factor only serves to reaffirm what most of us already know: One day, umpires will be replaced by robots. In a hasty attempt to maintain a degree of humanity in the game of baseball, these robots will be programmed with racism. This will inevitably lead to the Robot Race Wars of 2012, which will in turn bring about the collateral destruction of all human civilization on Earth as we know it. At some point during the gradual rebuilding of a mankind that our children (and their children and so on) will never know as we knew it, there will be erected a Thunderdome. And then, finally...I will be able to walk around in public wearing revealing leather-strap-and-metal-spike- based outfits without people automatically assuming it's a sex thing.
So there will be somewhat of a happy ending to this situation after all.