Next up in the Pinch Hitters series is Jason Whitman, who has seen blown calls in baseball, but hr still thinks instant replay would be a move in the wrong direction.
Married and living in Binghamton, Jason is the Chief Photographer for a local television station. Watching his hero Rickey Henderson be inducted into the Hall of Fame ranks as one of his favorite baseball moments. Jason’s father raised him to be a Yankees fan, but his mother and brother cheer for the Red Sox.
“I love them despite their faults,” Jason wrote.
Let’s get right to my point. There should not be instant replay in baseball. It would ruin the game.
Having the umpires on the field make the calls is the way that it’s always been. They get most of the calls right and occasionally blow a few. Baseball has managed to survive and thrive this way for over 100 years. Why change it now? Do we really want to see Lou Piniella throw a little red challenge flag, or would we rather see him blow his top and kick dirt on an ump? I know which one I prefer.
One of the greatest plays of all time happened in Game 1 of the 1955 World Series. The Brooklyn Dodgers were trailing the Yankees by 2 late in the game with Jackie Robinson on 3rd. Jackie broke for home with the pitcher in a full windup and slid safely under the glove of Yogi Berra. At least that’s how the home plate umpire saw it.
Whether or not Jackie was safe or not has been debated for over 50 years. Yogi still to this day swears that he was out. It’s a controversial call that has been talked about, over and over again.
This is just one example of what makes baseball so great. A play that happened over 50 years ago is still talked about today. An umpire made a call, one side loved it, and the other hated it. Everyone who has seen it has an opinion. It was the whole play that made it great, the umpire, the call, and the close play that could have gone either way. Yogi argued, screamed, and well, it didn’t matter. There was no changing the call.
Great moments like that will be forgotten sooner because of instant replay. We spend so much time talking about what could make the game better that we forget that it is already a great game. Having an umpire miss a call and watching the players and managers freak out is very much just a part of the game.
With the number of cameras at a game, it’s almost certain that we’ll know exactly what the correct call should be, no matter what the ump says. We have super slow-mo, multiple camera angles, even computer generated strike zones. If an ump gets a call wrong, or even right, we have the definitive answer within seconds. So, while I know that the technology is available, I just wish they would slow it down a notch. It is driving the umpires and tradition right out of the game.
Would instant replay have improved anything about baseball over the last 100 years? Imagine if there were instant replay in 1955. Nobody would still be talking about that stolen base of home, and Yogi wouldn’t still be arguing to this day. Nope, the debate would have ended in the replay booth and we would have only spent a few days talking about how bad the ump was.
That’s because Jackie was out.