When I wrote this back in February 2008, I was against expanding the use of instant replay. I still am, to a degree. My change is this: use instant replay for the post-season only, at the request of the umpiring crew. The crew chief should have the ability to request assistance to get the calls right. And we all know they’d rather get them right than live in infamy.
Some of what I wrote back then:
- I’m entirely concerned about the slippery slope if IR is adopted for boundary calls (HR fair/foul, over the wall or not, fan interference on HRs). I do not want it used on safe/out or worse, ball/strike. Period. [EDIT: This is what I’d like to amend]
- I think the ump’s would rather have help to get it right than be subbornly wrong. That was the attitude back in the 50’s, not today.
- The NFL and NHL has proved the concept of IR to be both successful and welcomed by players and fans alike.
- I firmly believe, and I’ve yet to hear a cogent argument to the contrary, that fans would rather have a pause in the action to get the call right than to have the call left wrong for eternity.
Post-season baseball takes longer than regular season baseball (insert “especially when Girardi is managing” joke here). Period. Add in the additional advertising, the mangerial moves, mound visits, etc., and the game just takes four plus hours. If you ask me if I’d rather have the games last 10 minutes longer and eliminate the obvious mistakes, then sign me up.
Balls and strikes remain untouchable by machines, until the machines officially take over calling balls and strikes.
One of the things that really bugged me about last night’s umpiring mistakes, notably the botched double play call at third, pictured above, is that the crew didn’t caucus to discuss. One other umpire had to have seen that Cano was off base. But none were consulted and since McClelland was the crew chief, none stepped up to offer their point of view. If McClelland was unsure of the situation, he should have consulted his peers.
A bad night for the men in blue.