Cheap Seats

Replay this

I'm really getting tired of all of the demands for expanded instant replay in baseball.

The issue piqued after the Wednesday night playoff game between the Yankees and the Twins when a ninth inning line drive was ruled to be trapped by a New York outfielder when television views showed the ball was caught. The game should have been over, but the runner was allowed to reach base erroneously and the Twins could have won the game with a homer instead of it being a notch in the loss column.

In Thursday's game between the Rays and the Rangers, the umpires decided that a Texas batter had checked his swing on a pitch that would have been strike three. Instead, he hit a ball for a three-run homer and broke the game open. Broadcaster Bobby Valentine went on and on about how instant replay could have prevented that mistake and then the Tampa crowd started to chant "Replay! Replay!"

First, if there is any doubt in the umpire's mind that a batter went around on a check swing, he did. I would guess that 95 percent of the time that the first or third base umpire is asked their opinion on the matter, by the spirit and letter of the rule, the batter is guilty of a swing.

Second, are we seriously going to stop a ballgame to review whether a batter was able to check his swing? If so, tack another hour onto games. Why don't we check the replay on every pitch to see if the umpire got that wrong, too?

Finally, why keep putting band-aids on problems? If the umpires are getting calls wrong as baseball nears its 200th year of existence, why not stop trying to give them a crutch and start trying to find some better darn umpires? Or at least maybe they could get the umpires they have some training. It seems like the game managed okay for its first two centuries. I don't understand why it can't make it without video replay assistance now.

Sure, it would be awful if an important game was lost because of a bad call. But there are SIX umpires on the field for post-season game. You're telling me that not one of them could tell what really happened?

As Cardinals fans, we have seen our fair share of game changing bad calls. How about Don Denkinger's 1985 World Series gaffe? Or the play in which Lonnie Smith was called out while trying to steal home in the 1982 post-season when replays show he was obviously safe.

But it ruins the game to stop every play and go over it with a microscope. They've had instant replay in the NFL for years and they still get things wrong constantly. Not a game goes by where the announcer doesn't say "oh, they're surely going to reverse that call after seeing the video" only to have the referee announce that, after checking the tape, the play stands as called.

If we're going to get to the point where technology is going to second guess everything that happens in the real world, let's forget the whole thing and I'll stay home and play games on my Xbox.