Archive for June, 2010

Feel the tectonic shift and pull out your wool socks

June 3, 2010

I’ve never been a fan of instant replay in sports…until tonight. The umpires have changed my mind by the strength of the evidence. Baseball must develop a way to integrate review of disputed or significant calls in all situations.

So what am I talking about anyway? A young pitcher for the Detroit Tigers, Armando Gallaraga, carried a perfect game into the ninth inning and got the first two outs. One more out and he would have the perfecto. He induced a ground ball to second, and the throw was in time to beat the runner, but the umpire called the runner safe. The ump apologized later and made a public statement that he had erred, but there is no recourse in that situation and that is no longer acceptable at the highest levels of the sport.

If we were inventing baseball now, in the 21st century, we would certainly be using some form of imagery to deal with disputed calls. The only reason that it isn’t there now is because baseball has such a strong sense of tradition. A more important tradition is getting the calls right, and for all their talk about self policing, the on field officials almost never overrule one another and rarely even ask for input from another umpire on close plays.

Baseball has gone from being top dog to third place among professional team sports in this country during the span of my life. If they want to keep from sliding further from the attention of the ADD generation, adding the right amount of technology to supplement the on field officials in crucial situations just might help.