The right call: More Baseball Replays

Posted by Kendall Harmon

I never thought that I'd be in favor of expanding instant replay for baseball, especially in the sport's most important games in the postseason. But then I never thought umpiring could get this bad.

It's time for baseball to seriously consider, and I would strongly suggest that it adopt, the use of instant replay for every postseason game.

No, not on balls and strikes. But there should be an extra umpire in a TV booth who communicates with the chief ump on the field. And that extra ump should have the authority, if he deems it necessary, to review any close or controversial play.

As a perfect illustration, in Game 3 of the World Series here on Saturday night, Alex Rodriguez of the Yankees hit a ball that was originally ruled a double off the top of the right field wall. For now, the only baseball plays that can have instant replay are just such "boundary calls." The umps assembled, left the field, consulted replay and got the call correct -- a two-run homer. But it took a few minutes. With a special-replay ump, the whole process might not have taken even one minute.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchSports

Posted November 1, 2009 at 5:01 am

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1. Matthew A (formerly mousestalker) wrote:

I disagree very strongly. The instant replay is used extensively in college football. It kills momentum. It drains excitement. Injustice is part of life. The only thing replays should be used for is to keep umpires or referees honest. Let them be used after the game as a quality check.

Most of the ones I’ve seen have resulted in the man on the field’s judgment being upheld. The occasional error does not justify the introduction of a new element into game play.

I have one of those blog thingies

November 1, 7:44 am | [comment link]
2. NoVA Scout wrote:

Boswell is a superb baseball writer.  He addresses Matthew’s concerns (which are legitimate) pretty well, especially in post-season play.  It took too long to get this particular call right last evening, but if the use of replay were systematized, it could be done much more quickly.

November 1, 9:01 am | [comment link]
3. Stefano wrote:

I don’t know Boswell and I side with Matthew. the more mechanistic it becomes the less interesting it is . Its the ambiguities and complexities that are part of the game that make it wonderful and unique.

November 1, 9:17 am | [comment link]
4. Vatican Watcher wrote:

I would prefer rather a significant reform of the umpires themselves rather than adding another layer of supervision on what is already a slow game.  Train umps and be able to hire and fire them based on performance and get rid of the old boys club before contemplating instant replay and all that comes with it.

November 1, 11:48 am | [comment link]
5. Archer_of_the_Forest wrote:

I hate instant replay. I seriously considered quitting watching college football when they adopted it. I have had an NCAA ref tell me personally off the record that it makes referees sloppy, even dishonest sometimes, because they know they now have a crutch to lean on. He even told me it is encouraged in some circles unofficially to intentionally make a wrong call if its a close play to make sure it gets reviewed.

Baseball is long enough as it is, adding any form of instant replay to a game that already has no time limits will make a long game even longer, and that’s not good for baseball. Umpire and Ref mistakes happen; its part of the game. Players make errors; its part of the game. If you want an exact sport, become a science major.

November 1, 11:02 pm | [comment link]
6. Already left wrote:

What about last night’s game when the Phillies player never touched home plate? What if that had been a game decider?

November 2, 12:38 pm | [comment link]
7. Matthew A (formerly mousestalker) wrote:

It happens. It would still happen with instant replay. All instant replay does is add yet more commercial breaks.

Presently, umpires are critiqued after games and after the season based upon tapes of their calls. The exposure, humiliation and possible loss of job are enough incentives for them to try to get it right.

As a sports fan, I hate bad calls. But they are part of life.

I have one of those blog thingies

November 3, 11:24 am | [comment link]

© 2014 Kendall S. Harmon. All rights reserved.

For original material from Titusonenine (such as articles and commentary by Dr. Harmon) permission to copy and distribute free of charge is granted, provided this notice, the logo, and the web site address are visible on all copies. For permission for use in for-profit publications, please email KSHarmon[at]mindspring[dot]com

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