The umpire called this a HBP, which allowed the winning run to score, but he clearly made the wrong call. His error was not a judgment call, but an incorrect application of the rules.

Rule 5.05.b.2

“If the ball is in the strike zone when it touches the batter, it shall be called a strike, whether or not the batter tries to avoid the ball.”

The pitch actually and undoubtedly was in the strike zone, as shown from multiple angles. That however, is unimportant, because umpires miss ball and strike calls all the time. Those are judgment calls, and are part of the breaks of the game. What is important in this incident is that the umpire had already called it a strike before he realized it had hit the batter, so it was not an error in judgment – he called it correctly. What he did NOT do correctly was to follow the rules! I know that the rules of baseball are arcane and anfractuous, but the umps just have to learn them.

The ump did ultimately realize his error, but not until after the game. “The guy was hit by the pitch in the strike zone,” he declared to a pool reporter. “I should have called him out.”

That works out to more than $500 per child per day, and it’s apparently a discount based on this sentence: “Kenneth Wolfe, a spokesman for HHS’s Administration for Children and Families, said the average daily cost per child is ‘approximately $775 per day based on past experience.’

In comparison, I just checked the price of a Sandals all-inclusive 5-star resort in Negril, Jamaica, and it works out to $300 per person per day ($4200 for a couple, 7-nights). So we could transport the kids there, hire each kid a personal nanny at $90 a day (a desirable job with a solid wage in Jamaica), house them in a 5-star resort with unlimited gourmet meals included, and still cut the price in half from that $775 figure. The older kids can even drink booze for free! (Alcohol is also included at Sandals, and Jamaica has no minimum drinking age.)

In equally daunting math:

$60 million per week is three billion dollars per year – and the number of kids is expected to grow dramatically.

The cited rate of $775 per child per day multiplies out to $280,000 per child per year!

Of course I’m not saying that we shouldn’t take care of the kids, but perhaps we need to improve our efficiency.

A lot.