Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Don't tweak Baseball with Instant Replay

lovingly lifted from Major League Baseball

ORLANDO, Fla. -- Instant replay may now become a factor on a limited basis in Major League Baseball games.

The collective general managers voted 25-5 during their Tuesday morning session to at least explore the possibility of using the video technology to help decide disputed home run calls: fair or foul, in or out of the ballpark.

"We've talked about replay for borderline calls -- safe and out, home runs or non-home runs -- for a number of years," said Bob DuPuy, MLB's president and chief operating officer, about a proposal handed down by the technology committee headed by Colorado GM Dan O'Dowd. "The umpires, particularly in a four-man crew, in many instances are 150 feet from the outfield fence where the ball crosses the line.

Oh, say it ain't so, Joe!
Don't invite 'instant replay' into baseball, PLEASE~! The advent of instant replay in other sports has not been justified, either. I don't care what is said about it, I don't like it. But in the case of both of the other major sports, football and basketball, instant replay is utilized to determine far more complicated plays such as fumble recoveries, in or out of bounds, touchdown or buzzer-beating-bucket or not.

But baseball is not as complicated as basketball or footlball. It wasn't designed to be complicated. Baseball instead is such a pastoral and placid game, simple in both brilliance and excitement. It is meant to be a game of simple disagreement among friends: "He was safe!" "Aw, you're nuts, he was out by a mile!" And the resulting friendly disagreement may last for years, becoming a moment of jovial memories and a perinnial source of friendly razzing.

Instant replay puts an end to that peculiarity of baseball, and to that aspect of the game; it ends the magic whereby two people can see the same play, and call it two or more ways. In that special regard, baseball stood alone. Part of the beauty of baseball is that instant, that millisecond of anticipation, that feeling of standing on the cliff, when every other matter dissolves into nothingness, when every fan awaits only the call made by the umpire.

Of course, a disputed call can also be a thorn in a fan's or even a team's side for years. Ask the St. Louis Cardinals, after the 'safe' call on Jorge Orta at first base, by umpire Don Denkinger, in the ninth inning of Game 6 of the 1985 World Series. Every television replay from every angle showed that Orta was out by a full step.

Or the Colorado Rockies of this past season. In the bottom of the 13th inning of their one-game playoff game, Matt Holliday scored what looked like the winning run, when he slid past Padres catcher Barrett, and maybe even home plate. Called safe by the ump, the Rockies went on to baseball glory this year, and becoming one of those beloved stories in baseball lore which children of all ages will read about or recall for years and years.

But, what if instant replay were to show that the runner was 'out'? The Padres might've gotten two more outs that inning, and the teams would played even longer. And that tantalizing bang-bang moment would have been forgotten in the retelling of the story.

The question remains, however: Must there be that much precision in America's pastime? Has it become such a money making endeavor that umpire calls must be scrutinized so? I hope not. I will be writing a letter to Major League Baseball to protest that call, if it is made. But the question remains. Because there is no instant replay, the question remains. As it should be.

1 comment:

Red S Tater said...

I agree 100%.

The next thing you know they will be putting that red fire graphic on the ball when it is pitched and hit like they did in the NHL for a season or two...it was like YUCK on the puck.