Thursday, June 3, 2010

Do you support instant replay in the MLB?

This morning’s paper screamed “I just cost that kid a perfect game.” Umpire Jim Joyce made the wrong call at first base last night in the Detroit v. Cleveland baseball game and ruined what would have been a perfect game. He even apologized to the pitcher after the game. This raised a question at the breakfast table this morning – Do you support instant replay in Major League Baseball?
No. No , I don’t for two simple reasons: 1. The game is already slow. 2. There’s not much a baseball umpire can miss. (Did you hear that? All those groans from baseball umpires about how I don’t know what I am taking about?)

The game is already slow.

The thing that makes baseball great is the slow pace. You can get up, go to the bathroom, get a hot dog and a beer and still not miss a single play. You can even take a little snooze if there happens to be a mid-inning pitching change. It’s genius. And depending on the talent of the opposing pitcher – a player could be at bat for a very very long time. Plus a moving strike zone adds a little mystery and intrigue. Adding instant replay to this would be like throwing some extra weight on your local turtle. Eventually, you are going to start to wonder if the little guy will ever cross that finish line.

There’s not much a baseball umpire can miss.

All a baseball umpire has to do is follow the ball. That’s it. Follow the ball. The players basically stand still except for the batter who is going to run to the exact same place every time. Is it inside the white line and big bright yellow poles? Did the runner get there before the ball? Yes, it may get a wee bit complicated with more than one guy on base – but that’s why there is more than one umpire.

Compare to this to football – a game where I support instant replay. Twenty two men or women – each capable of breaking rules no where near the ball– all moving wildly around the field. Football umpires can easily miss something or erroneously make a call because they have the wrong angle. Coaches should have some recourse for that.

What do you think? Do you think there should be instant replay in baseball?


  1. While I feel for the pitcher in this case, I don't like the idea of instant replay for determining "safe" or "out". We have an umpire within 10 feet of the play who's job is to see whether the ball is in the mitt before the batter steps on the bag. It may not be easy in all cases - but that is their job. Now in the case of determining Home Runs... See more, I like the idea of instant replay. That is a much harder call to make and we should let umpires have the ability to use the replay to make the correct call.

  2. I got really confused by seeing your Twitter about this post since I have a friend named Jim Joyce who posted on his Facebook that he blew the call (no, they're not the same person, he was just kidding). But then I was trying to figure out how you knew each other until I finally realized you were both independently referencing the same news story!

    As to instant replay in baseball, I don't watch enough to have an opinion either way. I do think it's been beneficial to football, but as you note there's a lot more going on at any instant there.