Is It Necessary?

I just want to state up front that I am not a fan of instant replay expanding to baseball.  Well, let me rephrase that.  I don’t mind it in certain circumstances.  Like arguing strikes/balls or swinging/holding, I think is dumb, a waste of time and takes away from the game.  The home run “instant replay” is good for now.  Maybe extend to fair and foul balls.

During the Cards and Rangers World Series game, on a nationally televised game, the first base umpire clearly let one get away, as he called a runner at first safe, after he had been tagged.   Unfortunately, the entire postseason has been marred with botched calls at one point or another.  That’s not to say it hasn’t been around baseball for-freaking-ever.  The Cardinals were on the bad end of a bad call in 1985, which directly related to the Kansas City Royals winning the World Series. How hard is it, though, for a first base umpire to make a call when he is standing RIGHT THERE as the play unfolds?  Perhaps at that point, it’s less of an instant replay thing, and a “better umpire” thing.  (Thanks to Senor Solly for posting that on the Gal For All Seasons page).

I’m all for improving the quality of the game, but I even said on a podcast for Living with Sportz that I didn’t like instant replay that “I’m a purist.”  Yet, I know there have been some give-and-take with that definition.  I mean, my dad has lived through generations that started with the starting pitching encouraged to not only finish nine innings, but go the distance in extra innings and now has specialty pitching.  I grew up with only two teams from each league making the postseason, and now four teams do, and there are two rounds before the World Series.  I mean, the game changes, for better or worse.  I think instant replay is a waste of time in certain circumstances.  There are some things that just beg for getting better umpires, and not nickel and dime everything in instant replay.  Look at football.  They have instant replay and they STILL sometimes fuck up calls!

I’m curious to think of what the readers here think about it.   Feel free to comment away.  In the meantime, I will state that I will be very upset if the Rangers lose to the Cardinals tonight because of a blown call (though they did mount a realistic comeback).  Whether instant replay would have come into play is inconsequential.  Where are the rulers coming down on the umpires for screwing up an easy call to begin with?  Not to mention, Matt Harrison COULD have pitched better and gotten his stuff together.

It’s never just one thing, just the visible one.  I’m sure Steve Bartman can tell us about that.

5 comments

  1. I think you can get carried away with replay. For this reason, I do not support expanding it. One of the knocks on baseball is that the games are already too long. I agree completely with holding umpires accountable for what they do on the field, and not “running under the hood” at the drop of a hat. Seriously, why do Angel Hernandez and CB Bucknor have jobs? Their incompetence is legendary.

  2. Gal, your basic premise about the umpires needing to be better is fine. But the specific play you cite isn’t. That play is extremely hard to call because the ump is trying to see a tag from an angle behind the player and the ump is of course in front. And there are plenty of other plays where it happens so fast and it’s so close it’s easy to miss it.

    I also disagree about replay adding time. There’s so much time between pitches it’s not a big deal anyway. Plus, it would shorten arguments if there was an extra umpire just watching a monitor that could instantly correct wrong calls instead of arguments, umpire huddles, etc.

    Finally, technology has changed and we now have the ability to get out/safe, fair/foul calls correct. To say it’s the human element and therefore acceptable is ridiculous.

  3. I’m all for expansion of instant replay on plays that involve an umpire making a call from far away. For example, if a third base umpire is standing close to 200 feet away from deep fly ball and can’t tell if it went fair or foul, that should be reviewable. However, if it’s like Game 3 of Cardinals-Rangers and the umpire is standing less than five feet away, he should be able to make the call correctly, especially on a play that didn’t need slow motion replay for the casual fan to determine that Matt Holliday was safe at first.

    It’s like the Jim Joyce call last year that prevented Armando Galarraga from getting the perfect game. As sad as I was for Galarraga, instant replay should not be allowed to reverse that call. If an umpire can’t get it right from that close of a vantage point, then MLB should reconsider their choice of umpire, not their stance on instant replay.

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