Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Baseball Needs Instant Replay

The instant replay movement in baseball has been gaining a lot of steam lately, mostly because of atrocious umpiring (Rob Neyer advocated for it yesterday in his chat). I've long been a proponent of it, and I'm incited to write this piece based on the game-changing mishap in the Marlins' 3-2 loss to the Pirates last night. If you missed it, Hanley Ramirez clearly beat out an infield hit to tie the game at 3-3 but was inexplicably called out.

There are three main arguments against instant replay:

1. Human error is part of the game
2. It will prolong games that are already too long
3. It undermines the umpires

All three are poor arguments. I refuse to accept that human error is a part of the game. Sure, human error was part of baseball's storied tradition when technology wasn't advanced enough, but now it is. There are some plays that aren't up for interpretation. Hanley's foot touched the bag before the throw got there. Case over.

As for prolonging games? This has the most merit, but it can easily be circumvented. I would propose a system reserved for only the biggest calls, such as close plays at the bases, homeruns, catch/traps, or fair/foul debates. We can leave balls and strikes alone for now.

Lastly, umpires ought to be undermined, becausing they're not doing their jobs well. If anything, it should give them piece of mind to know that they won't accidentally alter games the wrong way. They should see it as a security blanket, not a jagged sword.

Baseball needs instant replay badly, and it needs it fast.


DSponge said...

I think that baseball could employ the NFL style of challenges. Each team could be given 2 challenges per game and they may use them whenever they want. That's fair because it gauranteees that at most 4 plays would be reviewed which would hardly slow down the game.

Stanley C. said...

Every sport now has some sort of instant replay system in place. Basketball plays can be reviewed when the clock is involved or regarding a 2 or 3 point shot. Hockey has goals reviewed if there is a question as to how it was scored. Football has close plays that can be challenged. Baseball needs to catch up. I truly don't understand the reluctance to bring replay into the game. at LEAST on home runs that may or may not have gone over the yellow line or fair\foul. There aren't umpires on the fences, it wouldn't undermine anyone or take any time. Come on, Bud!

Jay Warman said...

I think replay is a bad idea. I get so frustrated during the NFL replay delays, they take FOREVER.

Tonight Tommy Hutton mentioned more umpire accountability. I think that could be a good way to solve this rash of sloppy umpiring. If they stink and continue to make bad calls, send them to Triple A, just like a struggling player.

The big leagues should be reserved for the best of the best. That goes for players and umpires.