Jul 27, 2011

Another botched call, another replay in baseball debate

by Aaron Giddens

We've all heard it before, a botched call is made by an ump on a crucial play and the calls from replay are heard for the week following. Well, here we go again. In last night's 19 inning marathon in Atlanta. The home plate umpire Jerry Meals missed a call with one out in the bottom of the 19th that gave the Atlanta Braves a 4-3 win over the Pirates. The Pirates were outraged, as they should have been. Here take a look.

Obvious right? It's obvious to me, the throw was well in time and the glove bent and the pants leg moved on the tag. Yet Jerry Meals called Julio Lugo safe and wouldn't listen to any argument other wise....til he was inside and saw the replay himself, but by that time it was too late. The Pirates were 4-3 losers. Shortly after the game Jerry Meals said he probably missed the call. Probably? Are you serious? The guy was out by 10 feet. Regardless the Pirates have filed a formal complaint with MLB. Executive Vice President for Baseball Operations Joe Torre said it appeared Meals missed the call. Well at least someone is willing to admit it. Jerry Meals earlier today changed his tune again and said he absolutely missed the call. Yeah no duh, Sherlock. No word yet on what, if anything, will be done.

So how many more of these blow calls must we have before we move baseball in to the 21st Century? "Baseball Purists" will say it's part of the game, part of the human element. But it doesn't have to be. Do I want replay for balls and strikes, no. Though I admit it's tempting with some of the strike zones I've seen this year against the Rays. All I want is a challenge system similar to in the NFL where the coach could challenge a ruling on a play. Except in this case it would be a manager and he could only challenge out/safe calls at the plate or at any of the bases. Maybe, maybe fair or foul calls on non-home runs. I want to keep baseball simple and quick but we got to get these calls right, so many teams over the years have been robbed on bogus calls.

How many more Armando Galarraga's must there be?

How many more Pittsburgh Pirates games must be botched? How many more times are we gonna see umpires like Bob Davidson blow calls before we say enough is enough?

I'm saying it now, implement replay NOW! This sport deserves better than what the umpires are doing to it. And just for the record I respect umpires like Jim Joyce who admit their mistakes. But the human element as outlived it's welcome, we need replay to help the umpires, not to replace them. And that's my view on this, what's yours?


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