Tuesday, April 6, 2010

The Instant Replay Debate

It's been discussed a million times. There seems to be limitless opinion on the issue. But the fact remains: Baseball needs to embrace technology and stop falling back on this "human element" argument. Yesterday's Cubs v. Braves game provided yet another PERFECT example why replay should be expanded in baseball.

Aramis Ramirez on 1st, Marlon Byrd at the bat. Byrd hits a line-drive/fly-ball to deep left-center field that Nate McLouth dives for. Because of the angle of his body in relation to the umpire, the umpire's view was temporarily blocked. McLouth appeared to catch the ball but the replay's showed the ball hit his glove and then trickle away. Ramirez, the runner on first, sees McLouth drop the ball and runs for second. The umpire does not see the drop, McLouth throws the ball back in and doubles Ramirez off of first.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nqx-xZoGJhQ (YouTube video before MLB takes it down)

Keep in mind, the Cubs were down 8-5 at this point and there were no outs in the inning prior to Byrd's at-bat. So the situation went from 1-on, 0-out to 0-on, 2-out when it should have been 2-on, 0-out. At that juncture, the complexion of the game changed entirely and the Cubs went on to get routed, 16-5 (worst Opening Day loss for the Cubs since 1884).

The point here is not that the ump missed the call because that happens all the time. The point is that Major League Baseball has both the technology and the infrastructure to do something about this, yet they continue to refuse to change. It is a FACT that McLouth dropped that ball, not an opinion, just like it's a fact whether a ball leaves the park or not (the only thing subject to replay currently).

This probably isn't even a novel idea, but the solution here is to give each team one replay per game. That replay can be used to challenge a home-run call, a questionable catch or a close play (on a stolen base or at home plate). No ball/strikes. One replay per game, each side, that's it. They already have an area set up to review HR calls so you wouldn't even need to change anything. I feel that it's completely unacceptable that Baseball not embrace the technology that is there. There are dozens of cameras at every baseball game, let's start using them to their full potential.

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