06 August 2010
I was at last night Phillies v. Marlins game and I thought I would come back and write about Roy Oswalt's solid second start as a Phillie, then I thought I would write about the Marlins doing a great job of battling back to avoid the sweep against their divisional foes. But then something happened, something that got me extremely angry, and something that will not doubt be talked about today on all the talk radio shows.
With the Marlins and Phillies tied at 4 in the bottom of the ninth inning and Hanley Ramirez on second with one out Gaby Sanchez hit a game winning double down the third base line for the walk-off win. Or at least he did if it was not for third base umpire Bob Davidson. Davidson called a ball that was fair by a good half foot a foul ball. On the next pitch Gaby struck out and two batters later the inning ended with a Cody Ross strike out. The Phillies then went on to win the game in the tenth inning on a Carlos Ruiz solo home run. The Davidson call is amplified by an earlier close play that went against the Marlins. He called another ball foul, that looked fair, that would have been an inning ending ground out, but instead the foul call lead to a Ruiz two run double three pitches later.
This is just the latest example of why baseball needs to update its game and include replay. Baseball purist say that the umpires and human error is part of the game, but that is load of bull. The entire reason that we as humans have created things like cameras, calculators, computers, ext. is because human error is not good enough. Fans don't go to sporting events and just hope that the referees and umpires make the right calls. No we want to have our games called correctly and for the umps and refs to have as minimal effect in the game as possible. Certainly a judgment call should not be the difference between winning and losing.
MLB wants to know why they are losing their fans, it is because the game is slow, not a lot of actions, and because of its refusal to embrace change. Right now baseball only will do replay for home run calls and for fan interference. I don't really know how baseball would implement replay, maybe having one or two manager challenges for base out calls, and let umps go to replay on home runs and fair/foul calls when necessary. Baseball fans will say that this will cause the games to go longer, but will it really? Do you think going to replay will really take longer then when a manager goes out to argue a call? No it won't, if anything it could speed up the game. And most importantly, THEY WILL GET THE CALL CORRECT!
I know baseball purist will point out that the Marlins did blow a 4-2 lead in the top of the 9th, they had opportunities to win the game in the bottom of the 9th or 10th. But A, that is not the point. Yes, the Marlins should not have been in that position, but they were. What if the Marlins had rallied to tie the game at 4 when this happen, would it have made a difference? No. And B, the Marlins did rally to win the game, but it was because off an incorrect call by an umpire they lost.
Baseball should be embarrass by something like this. Tennis is using replay to see if a ball was in, out or on the line, and has been embraced as a great thing. The NFL loves using technology to improve its game so much that it is looking to put a microchip in its ball so that they can better tell if the ball crosses the first down marker and the goal line. Heck even the Little League World Series is going to have manager replay challenges for things like force outs, tags on the base paths, missed bases and hit batters. Thats right, Little League World Series will be more advanced then the MLB. Managers in the Little League World Series will get one replay challenge for the first six innings and another challenge for extra innings.
It is time for baseball to wake up and smell the technology. If MLB does not embrace replay and at least try and catch up to all of the other major sports then they will run the risk of being left behind. Again Americans don't give a damn about purity and human error, we want things done right and for calls to be made correctly. That's it, that's all.