Thursday, July 23, 2009

Instant Replay

While we are on a roll concerning rule changes, the topic of Instant Replay has come up again because of the completely blown call in the Twins game earlier this week where Cuddyer was called out at the plate and replay showed how easily Cuddyer beat the tag. The run would have been the tying run and it was the last out of the game. The Twins might have won that game. Does baseball want that kind of notoriety?

One of the problems of Instant Replay is that it's not really "instant." It takes time for the umpires to go to their system and get the signal from the umpire in the sky (or wherever he is) for the proper outcome. Yeah, okay, that might draw out the game a little bit, but not any more than ten attempted pick off throws to first or three pitching changes in an inning.

In the long run, it's certainly worth it to get it right. Rob Neyer, lately one of our few mainstream voices of reason, correctly pointed out that the world hasn't caved in with the advent of the replay system already in place for homers.

Gardenshire, the manager of the victimized Twins said he wants a red flag like they have in football. Uh. No! Why not allow the manager of a team the right to question any call? Each game might have one or two disputed plays. Big deal! Review them! The technology is there. Use it.

There is no reason in this day and age that a call can't be questioned and put right when it is wrong. The one big problem is figuring out where all the runners should be if there were multiple runners on base. But that can be figured out. After all, there are four umps watching the bases at any given time. For those of you who say that human error is part of the game, you aren't living in reality. Human error is what brought the major automakers down. The Japanese showed the way using technology to limit errors.

The bottom line is that the players should determine the outcome of games, not the umpires. Doing anything possible to limit the latter from happening should be investigated, tested, perfected and put into place. Soon!


Billy the Kid said...

I an extent. There are definitely examples of where instant replay may be beneficial;the current homerun rule, close plays at first, and at the plate, maybe even throwdowns to second.

Where I disagree is that sleight of hand and showmanship have always been a part of baseball. I applaud when a shortstop can sell a double play, even when a tv replay shows that his foot didn't even come close to within a foot of the bag(play on word intentional), I like it when an outfielder can convince the ump that it was a diving catch, and not just a trap. Maybe that's just me.

You point out that anyone who thinks that human error is part of the game is basically backward-thinking. You then make an interesting comparison with the auto industry. I can work with that. Technology has helped foreign automakers gain a slight edge,that is true, but at the same time, it wasn't just sticking to the old ways that brought down GM. It was also unchecked growth. In GM's case it was too many dealerships, inventory, etc..., where foreign automakers focused on quality over quantity.

The same can be applied to instant replay. Without guidelines, we could see every close strike call disputed, every check-swing reviewed.

Overall, I am on the fence. Instant replay definitely has it's ups, but I can also see it being a very abused system.

P.S. Also, most of my favorite ancedotes from one of my favorite baseball writers(Luciano) wouldn't have been as great if instant replay would have been around in his time.

BobH said...

Really? You want managers to have unlimited challenges? There are a lot of bang-bang plays in baseball, in addition to all the other stuff. No way would there only be one of two challenges per game.

The biggest complaint people have about baseball is how slow it is. I'd recommend one unsuccessful challenge each per game -- that way they'd save them for the truly egregious mistakes.