Thursday, June 3, 2010

My Proposal for Intstant Replay

Jim Joyce blew it last night. But he had the cajones to admit it.

In what would have been the unprecedented third perfect game pitched this season, Joyce called Jason Donald safe on a close play at first. Donald hit a weak grounder to the right of first baseman Miguel Cabrera with two outs in the ninth. Cabrera fielded the ball and tossed it to the pitcher Armando Galarraga who replays show clearly beat Donald to the base.

Tigers manager Jimmy Leyland was furious. Cabrera gave Joyce a piece of his mind. Surprisingly, the only person not angry was Galarraga. He even laughed about the incident.

While most of the sports world lamented Joyce's call, I was fuming over another questionable call that ended the Twins game 2-1 last night in the 10th.

There should be some way for baseball to maintain the integrity of the game and improve calls. Come October, calls such as Phil Cuzzi's blunder in last year's Twins-Yankees series can change the momentum of the playoffs.

MLB currently allows for review of foul balls that may be home runs. Here are my suggestions for places where baseball should and shouldn't use instant replay.
  • Force outs. Particularly, close plays at first would benefit from instant replay reinforcement.
  • Third outs. Part of the problem with baseball is you can't just replay the down, but third outs the option is either the play continues or the inning is over.
  • Foul balls. These are easy calls to make. There is a line drawn on the ground. If it's out it's out, if it's in it's in.
However, I would not like to see balls and strikes called by a machine. I think any improvements in consistency would come at a heavy cost to the game.

I think there is a lot that can be gained from instant replay. In calls where there is a quick decision, having cameras to assist the umps makes it a game of skill not of chance. However, calls which may require more judgment such as determining whether a catch was made or whether a tag got there in time should be left to the umps. The idea is not to completely change the game, but improve the play.

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