Saturday, July 30, 2011

#214: After Review, No More Replay in MLB

---SSL Broadcast #52---

I blame my generation.

It seems as though folks my age (mid-30s) and younger are really driving toward getting MORE instant replay injected into Major League Baseball.

I could not be more opposed to this idea.

Of course, the whole debate has been (re)sparked by a call at the plate in the bottom of the 19th inning at Turner Field in Atlanta. Home plate umpire Jerry Meals called Julio Lugo safe with the winning run, when replays appeared to show Pirates catcher Michael McKenry swipe tag Lugo on the leg as he slid past (and showed Lugo stand up somewhat dejectedly) before getting the favorable call.

Despite what some folks claim, the tag wasn't quite the sure thing. Some screen shots used to demonstrate the point use shots that rely on shadow drops. Seeing the play live, it wouldn't be inconceivable to say that McKenry missed. However, the best argument I heard all week was this: The throw to the plate beat Lugo by so much, if the umpire wasn't quite sure, he should have erred on the side of "out," because generally that's how it works.

But because the safe call determined the game, here come the pitchforks and torches, pretty much with the bottom line to replace umpires altogether with video review. And probably sensors to call balls and strikes.

In one regular season, Major League baseball schedules 2430 games. Instances where games are decided in this manner (perhaps once every few seasons), makes this a 1-in-10,000 chance. This is certainly not grounds to uproot the officiating system currently in place.

Slowing an already-slow game even more will take additional fun out of the game. Fans like to see managers argue calls, see opposing managers and players get ejected, they also like the debate that follows controversy. Removing the occasional controversial call will actually stunt the game in the long run.

I think my generation (and younger) are trying to turn baseball into a video game.

If Major League Baseball is going to invest extra money into something officiating-related, have some sort of advanced training for these umpires, and even then only under certain conditions (game-deciding call, recent history of missed calls or varying strike zone).

The fight against replay begins anew as the main topic of today's program.


- NFL Lockout is over, and the Steelers scramble to sign and waive.

- Pirates play a terrible week of baseball as they try to hang in the playoff race against other contenders.

- Will they make a significant trade deal before tomorrow's deadline? Do they have anybody expendable that anyone wants?



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