In 1969 at Al Somers umpire school (taken over by Harry Wendlesteadt (SP) and I think now his son). we were taught to call it safe if they missed the bag.
I had the same point. It didn’t appear that that was the case in practice. Not as many re-runs payed as you see now with various camera angles and multiple play-backs.
Personally and with my partners in the minor leagues, we would call a missed base tag safe only if we were sure of it. Many close swipes went to the fielders.
When you’re inside the bases because there’s a runner on base its not always the easiest call . Most of the short stops go behind the base and will get a “close” call.
The injury thing is an issue also. But it wasn’t something to which I gave priority.
In umpire school we were told that the good players will touch the bag, but I think they all worry about the injury.
In professional sports, if both sides don’t want it called, it may not be called. Position is, if you call it that way for them, you have to call it that way for us. The umps learn what those calls are and I think they often do what the teams want.
Basketball is similar and many times more often. Also, it looks like stars get more slack than the average player.
Here’s a story. A new rookie pitcher was on the mound when Ted Williams came to the plate. They say Williams eye was so good he could read the label on the pitched ball as it came to the plate.
The pitcher threw one near the outside corner. Williams didn’t swing and the umpire said “Ball one.”
The next pitch was very close on the inside corner. Williams took the pitch and the ump said “Ball Two.”
The pitcher came down off the mound a little and said “looked like a strike.”
The ump took off the mask and went around to the front of the plate and said: “Son, Mr. Williams will let you know when it’s a strike.”
Now that’s respect! Lovin’ it! Haha.
Yes, it does ... and it's as corrosive to honor and decency in sports as it is in the 'real' world.