You may have heard the joke going around baseball. Now that some postseason calls have gone against the Yankees, Major League Baseball will finally get around to expanding its replay system.
Some joked it could be changed before the end of the current American League Championship Series. Can’t have the Bronx Bombers getting hosed.
After Sunday night’s game, umpire Jeff Nelson admitted he incorrectly called Detroit’s Omar Infante safe on a tag play at second base where the replays clearly showed Infante was out. Nelson admitted he blew the call on Robinson Cano’s tag, which should have ended the eighth inning before Detroit expanded its lead from one run to three runs.
I know what you are thinking. That if the next 100 calls go against the Yankees, maybe the ledger will then be even. Let’s do each other a favor and not even mention the name of the kid that changed the course of a playoff series in 1996.
But really, this isn’t so much about the Yankees as it is getting a critical call correct.
Baseball began video review by umpires late in the 2008 season, but it is used only to determine whether potential home runs went over the fence or were fair or foul. The commissioner’s office is considering an expansion to allow for video to determine whether balls down the lines are fair or foul and whether fly balls are trapped.
Equipment was installed this year at Yankee Stadium and Citi Field to test technology. But the expansion of replay under consideration wouldn’t have included Sunday’s tag play.
Here is the problem for baseball right now: When the fans at home can clearly see a call was blown that can’t be changed and everyone watching knows it is wrong, that is bad for the sport.
Here is my common-sense solution: Have a replay official in a booth in the press box. When he sees a clearly blown call and there is indisputable evidence, he communicates down to the crew chief to get the call right. This should not be used for ball and strike calls, but safe or out calls on the bases and fair or foul calls, for sure.
The problem with fair and foul calls is when a ball is ruled fouled but the replay shows it was fair. The umpires or the replay booth would have to place any runners on their best judgement.
It is a problem for any sport when all the fans at home can see that the call on the field is not correct. If everyone but the umpires knows it, isn’t it time to clue them in, too? Isn’t it time to use technology to get as many calls right as possible?
After another missed called in the National League Championship Series last night, some took to Twitter with thoughts. This was from former big league pitcher Mark Mulder who is now with ESPN:
“Funny how instant replay isn’t that big a deal until it goes against the Yankees.”
From former pitcher Curt Shilling:
“Cool thing is instant replay overturned another bad call, oh wait...”
Mel Antonen, from MASN’s Mid-Atlantic Sports report wrote:
“Why not just have a 7th umpire in the booth to send a message to correct the call?”