Now that bad umpiring calls have stolen a win from the Pirates, in
addition to a perfect game by Armando Galarraga, and a World Series
from the St. Louis Cardinals, it is time once again for Baseball
Commissioner Bud Selig to reject instant replay for Baseball.
Selig, who has shown himself to be a baseball purist in few other
other aspects of the game, has repeatedly rejected the expanded use
of instant replay. In the wake of Wednesday night's 19-inning game
that was decided by one of the worst calls in baseball history,
someone on ESPN's The Sports Reporters or The Sports Bar Newsletter
will claim that now is the time to finally use replay to help the
umpires do a difficult job.
When Atlanta's Julio Lugo crossed the plate and was called safe by
umpire Jerry Meals in the 19th inning of Wednesday's game against
Pittsburgh, it showed how infallible are umpires, and how necessary
is instant replay.
MLB and umpire Meals later admitted the call was a mistake. But do
we need any more mea culpas from umpires, as was the case when Jim
Joyce made a bad call last year that cost Detroit pitcher Armando
Galarraga a perfect game? Or when Don Denkinger called Jorge Orta
safe in the 9th inning of Game 6 of the 1985 World Series? That play
would have ended the Series in favor of St. Louis, but instead,
Kansas City went on to win the game and Game 7.
The technology for instant replay is not only available, but already
in place. MLB uses it for home runs. And every pitch of every game
is video recorded by MLB. The league doesn't even need to turn
everything into a reviewable moment. Strikes and balls should be
sacred, and not subject to replays. All close plays would not need
to be reviewable. Reviews could be limited to just scoring plays at
the plate. Or walk-off plays. Or just 9th-inning plays. The NFL
already changes the way replays are used late in the game, putting
reviews in the hands of booth officials in the final minutes of a game.
Would baseball games be longer with replay? Maybe not. If video
reviews were used, managers would argue less frequently. They would
not come trotting out of the dugout on every close play, because they
know that instant replay would solve the matter. And just like balls
and strikes cannot be argued, MLB could eliminate arguments for
reviewable plays, thus speeding up the games.
So there you have it, Bud. The ball is in your field.
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