Thursday, August 19, 2010
Make the Right Call
In this day and age of technology, instant replay needs to be expanded in baseball to include if a player is out at a plate or not. Instant replay plays a critical role in all of the other major professional sports including the NFL, NBA and NHL. When it is clear to the players, officials and fans that a call was clearly wrong, there needs to be instant replay to be able to change the call. Baseball has already demonstrated how efficient instant replay can be in ruling if a homerun is actually a homerun or not. Before instant replay with homeruns, they say that calls were being made incorrectly not only if a homerun was fair or foul but also if a homerun was actually over the yellow line or it just took a weird bounce and came back into play. Comerica Park in Detroit was a park that benefited from this rule. In Comerica Park, above the right field fence, there is a metal rail that is out of play. If a ball hit this rail, it would be a home run. The problem is that when a ball hits this area it bounces back into play sometimes and looks like it just hit off the fence. Instant replay with homeruns helps with making the right call in these situations. Instant replay needs to be expanded in baseball because the current system is not fair to players, umpires or fans when there could be a better system in place.
It is not fair to the players when calls are made incorrectly. It is not fair to Armando Galarraga with losing his perfect game as much as it is not fair to the 1985 St. Louis Cardinals who lost the World Series, partly due to a bad call. If instant replay was in place for either one of these moments, there would have been a different outcome. Armando would have had the 21st perfect game and the Kansas City Royals might not have won the World Series that year. If instant replay had been in place, the umpires could have reviewed the call on the field and overrode the call with the correct one. In one article, Jim Joyce even stated, “I cost that kid a perfect game”. This was a call that was blatantly wrong but without instant replay could not be changed. In regard to the call in the 1985 World Series, manager Whitey Herzog stated, “There are 165 million people that knew Denkinger missed that call, and we couldn’t do anything about it. We broke down a little big after that. But the game should have been over”. Players should get the win or the perfect game if they have earned it. An incorrect call should not rob them of that.
It is not fair to the umpires to not have instant replay expanded to other calls when it is available because it puts a lot of extra stress on them and can ruin their reputation. Both of the umpires (Jim Joyce and Don Denkinger) involved in these games are going to be remembered, not for the 30 years of fine work that they put in, but for the one bad call that they made. As Don Denkinger said, “I had 30 great years…… and I had one call that’s all anybody ever wants to talk about. It’s not right”. Umpires in baseball are like lineman in football, if you never hear their name, they are doing a great job. Usually you only know their name when they make an incorrect call. If expanded instant replay would have been in place, it would have helped out the umpires because above anyone else on the field, they want to get the call right. After the game, Galarraga even stated that Joyce, “probably felt more bad about it than me”. This shows how seriously they take their jobs and how much incorrect calls can weigh on them. These two calls are just ones that stick out but there are a lot of calls that are important especially in the playoffs that could benefit from instant replay.
It is not fair to the fans of MLB to not have expanded instant replay. Once again, this is especially relevant because of the perfect game that will never be for Armando Galarraga. Even Governor Granholm snuck out of a meeting to watch the last few innings of this game. I still remember getting ready to jump out of my seat in excitement to have it all taken away before my feet hit the ground. Within minutes of the incorrect call, people had “Fire Jim Joyce” fan clubs on Facebook. Some fans will never get over the call in the 1985 World Series because it would have been their team that won the series instead. To follow a team all season just to have the championship lost by an incorrect call is not right. The fans are the ones that make the game. They are the ones that pay the players’ salaries by buying tickets and merchandise. Instant replay in the MLB would help make fans happy and could save them from some unnecessary heartache and frustration.
Some will not want instant replay in baseball because they will say that incorrect calls are a part of the game that has always been there. Others will say instant replay will add unwanted time to a game that is already too long. There are always going to be some reasons why we should not have expanded instant replay but I believe that the good reasons far outweigh the reasons not to have it. Instant replay needs to be in baseball as much as steroids need to be out of baseball. It is simply another way to clean up the game. With the other major professional sports using instant replay, it makes sense for the MLB to expand it to include more than just homerun rulings. This will be a win-win situation for all fans, players and umpires in the game of baseball.
-Michigan Sports Guy