Honestly, when I met with Worrell on a cold and snowy night in St. Louis to talk about the Denkinger call 26 years after it happened, I fully expected him to still be angry and bitter about this call. I expected him to say he can’t believe MLB has not instilled more instant replay, that the technology is there and MLB is hurting the game, the fans, by not having more instant replay.
Unlike in other sports, in baseball, we live with the ballplayers day in and day out. We come to know who they are — they are part of our summer family. It’s not as if machines are moving around on the field. As often said, they’re actually human beings and when you interview someone, when you really try to get their honest thoughts about the game, often times I’m so surprised by what I hear. It’s always something different than what I was expecting. And that is the beauty of baseball: it’s the fact that on any given night any ballplayer can perform something most unexpected. So, when it comes to Worrell’s thoughts on instant replay, why was I surprised I walked away from the interview with something I wasn’t expecting?
Here’s the interview with Todd Worrell and his thoughts on instant replay in MLB. One of the things Worrell and I talked about was Armando Galarraga and the blown call by Joyce. I was prepared to ask Worrell if he was surprised at how quickly Galarraga got over the blown call — the next day he handed Joyce the lineup card. I thought maybe Galarraga, the day after the blown call, was being fake in his act of kindness. How could he get over it so quickly? But, as our conversation flowed from one surprise to another, I had to adjust the question. I asked Worrell if he thought as time went by the blown call to Galarraga’s perfect game would hurt more.
“I think it will,” Worrell said. “I think, he’s young and it’s easy when you still have the game in front of you. You still have other opportunities and you are at that level because you are driven. You want to do it again.”
This year, with the Arizona Diamondbacks, Galarraga has a 5.91 ERA and has won three games. At this point, his future is unsettled but his past is clear: He should be number 21 on MLB’s perfect game list. If the Pirates lose the NL Central by one game, certainly it will be time for more MLB to instill more instant replay?
“The only thing missing in my career was the World Series Championship,” Worrell said about his time in the majors. If there was instant replay in 1985, Worrell might have the one thing he wanted, certainly now he’d want more instant replay?
Worrell’s comments about instant replay, true to the beauty of baseball, will certainly surprise you.
Anna McDonald is a Page 2 contributor and covers the Yankees for the It’s About the Money part of the SweetSpot Network. You can follow her on twitter at @Anna__McDonald.