That series loss to the Evil Empire still stings. Actually, it’s beyond a sting. It feels more like someone reaching into your chest and tearing out your heart while it’s still beating.
Granted, the Twins made stupid plays. Failed to capitalize with men on base. Whatever! We’re not here to talk about that.
Apparently the umpiring was abysmal for the Rockies too, who lost their playoff series to the Phillies last night. **Sigh.** This article argues for the use of instant replay beyond its use right now, for home run calls. I take exception to the author’s calling baseball a slow and backwards sport, but his argument for expanding instant replay is an intriguing one.
Sure, a replay would have shown that Joe’s hit down the left field line was very clearly fair. Would it have changed the outcome of the game if he had been awarded a ground-rule double? Maybe. Would it have changed the outcome of the series? Doubtful.
I think it would be ok to expand instant replay to determine if a ball is fair or foul. Or maybe to determine if the outfielder really catches the ball, or if he’s trapped it in his glove after it hits the field. I don’t think we want to second guess ball and strike counts. I don’t want to second guess the ump’s decision if the runner is out at second, or if he’s safe. That would take suck some of the fun out of the game, and it really would make it move as slowly as molasses going uphill in January. Over the course of a season, bad calls pretty much even themselves out. In the playoffs though, oof, they hurt.
What I really wonder is if it would help to have some stiff penalties against the umpires when they totally hose a call. Like suspension without pay. A temporary demotion to the low minor leagues. Instant replay would be nice to make sure the correct calls are made. It would be fantastic if the umpires calling the games cared about doing a good job. That way, the need for instant replay would be rare. People wouldn’t be clamoring for it so much. The baseball purists would be happy. The player who was supposed to be standing on second base would be happy too.