By Gian Franco Gil
In the Cuban baseball final there was no shortage of controversy. A match on the field put the main referee of the seventh match between Matanzas and Granma, Omar Peralta, at «3 and 2». With the bases loaded, veteran Carlos Benitez settled into the short stopping area and threw Irisbel Areoparina toward the board, causing a row.
The judge did not hesitate to grasp his arms and calmly ordered Jospani Milan, who spent the fastest race from the lobby to the record. Then the divided standards began. Granma supporters, the overwhelming majority of Barbados martyrs, soon supported the first decision. Meanwhile, the Crocodiles, with their manager, Armando Ferrer, were hoping that slow motion would do justice and avoid a third entry.
Ferrer appealed the video. In Latin America, the arbitral tribunal received the request and began to act. Several minutes of deliberation. The play didn’t really look complicated, at least when I looked closely, but the final match of the competition was worth a thorough review and the delay was somewhat justified.
The call came. The seconds it took for the referee to issue the final verdict became an eternity for those in the stable of Alazanis. Mainly to the surprise of the viewers, the initial decision was upheld, the calm was sanctioned, and the match went on with apparent calm, because the video “never fails”.
The networks immediately exploded.
Fans and colleagues from the press could not understand the situation. It was probably one of the easiest plays to spot after an entire season. The exit was clear, the ball arrived on time and the receiver did his job, a line on the pentagon to complete the exit.
In the eyes of this writer, Granma was not worth scoring, but my opinion is as illogical as the opinion of hundreds of fans who have taken to their Facebook, Twitter or Instagram accounts to denounce the apparent mistake. The standard who will continue is Luis Cesar Valdes, a trusted voice when it comes to refereeing, and much more this year when he had to oversee the actions of his teammates.
“After a long run and tireless days, I publicly acknowledge the mistake of ‘rebooting’ on the home theater. We will continue to work and fight until such things do not happen. We know it is very difficult, but not impossible, and we will continue to work and help Artibrage,” Cesar Valdés explained in his file profile on Facebook.
With these statements, the former National Series referee put an end to the controversy and exposed to public opinion the great mistake made by the arbitration group. Although, in the lines that continued to spread, he tried to protect the prestige of his subordinates.
We will not be satisfied with what has been achieved. We must remain united and among all of us we must give the best in each one of us. I congratulate from the bottom of my heart all the referees in Cuba and we are sure that we can do a better job,” he concluded his message to the colleagues who participated in the day and to those who are about to make their debut in the local tournament.
Although Matanzas failed to score, as he was dominated by the delivery of Leandro Martinez and then Cesar Garcia, movement on the board was crucial throughout the match. I would venture to say that zero in that episode would have changed the “face” of the people from Matanzas. Even trying to reverse the difference between two rounds is different than trying to reverse a difference of four.
Anyone can be wrong. It is very difficult to make a sound stock decision in real time. Often intuition, placement and experience are determined. This is what happens on the field in front of thousands of spectators in the most important match of the tournament.
But the judging group, in a room, with all the time to make a decision, with the necessary technology can not fail. Not in such a simple play. The video came to eliminate grievances, to clear up problems due to arbitration decisions, and to make the game a slick spectacle. Therefore, the referee cannot be the most valuable player, and this is the goal of the true heroes, the players.
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