Is it time to expand instant replay?
Just about everyone on the planet is weighing in on the perfect game controversy that took place in Detroit on Wednesday, so I thought I’d put my two cents in as well.
A lot of you have asked if I think the Commissioner should overturn umpire Jim Joyce’s safe (and incorrect) call that ended Armando Gallaraga’s bid for a perfect game. The Commissioner has already said that he’s not going to overturn it, and I agree with him, wholeheartedly.
Whether you agree or disagree that instant replay should be expanded to include examination of close plays on the bases and at and home plate, the fact is, at this point, reviewing plays and overturning calls after the fact is only allowed with home run calls.
Making an exception this time would certainly give Gallaraga his rightful place in the history books, and it wouldn’t bother me terribly if this wrong was made right. It was a bad call, as the replays have shown and Joyce had admitted time and again. But rules are rules, and right now, there is no rule that allows umpire calls to be overturned unless it’s a home run in question.
I’m not completely siding with the Commish, however. I have long felt that instant replay should be expanded to include close plays on the bases. It absolutely infuriated me that select writers and fans shrugged off the horrendous mistakes several umpires made during the last postseason. This isn’t to pick on the umpires; quite the contrary. I’ve always felt that everyone would benefit from using the technology that we have at our fingertips in today’s age to get things right. We’re at a point now where you can add instant replay without adding unwanted time onto the games.
In today’s ballparks, there are monitors everywhere. When you’re standing in line at the concession stands, you can watch the game, and the replays, on the dozens of TVs that saturate every concourse in every corner of every ballpark. It’s unfair to the umpires that their mistakes are exposed within 15 seconds of the calls that they make. Why can’t the umpiring crew have the same luxury?
The “human element” to baseball has been overblown and over-romanticized. The integrity of the game is all that matters, and getting the calls right should be priority No. 1. We’re in the age of split-second technology, and it’s time to use it.
I felt horrible for Joyce. He’s highly-regarded as one of the game’s better umpires and it’s sad that his legacy will always be tied to this one call. There are ways to make sure this never happens again, and the time to make sure it’s doesn’t is now. Why wait?