If there were ever a climax for the instant replay debate in baseball, it came on the night of September 15, 2010, when Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter pulled a “Tom Cruise” when batting in the top of the seventh inning.
With one out, and the Yankees down a run, Jeter squared to bunt on the first pitch of the at-bat. It was an inside pitch, and Jeter screamed in agony as the ball bounced back on to the field. He was awarded first base. However, video evidence clearly showed that the ball hit the knob of the bat, never touching Jeter’s hand.
To make matters worse, Rays manager Joe Maddon was ejected for trying to do good for the baseball community. Furthermore, Curtis Granderson immediately followed with a two-run home run, giving the Yankees the lead. Luckily, the Rays ended up rightfully winning the game.
A day later, 24 managers were surveyed, asking if they thought baseball needed instant replay. Eighteen said baseball needed replay, just two opposed, and four decided not to comment.
Almost a year ago, the Twins got screwed in the first round of the playoffs, when Joe Mauer hit a ball down the left field line. It was called foul, but video evidence showed that it was indeed fair.
It becomes clearer everyday that baseball needs replay.
It wouldn’t be very difficult. Simply put an umpire in a booth next to the press box and put a television screen in front of him. If the umpires decide that a call should be reviewed, they would go to a phone that would be placed on the field, ask the umpire in the booth what the correct call is, and the right call will prevail. No call will ever be missed.
Sitting at home watching the game, we constantly see replays revealing missed calls by the umpire. Why should fans have access to essential evidence that the umpire do not?
One of the counter-arguments would be that the game would be slowed down. Using Wednesday night as an example, it took about three minutes for the umpires to discuss the call and then argue with Joe Maddon. If replay were instated, it would have taken 10 or 15 seconds to determine that Jeter should have been out. Less time, no arguing. If that isn’t your objective, we have a problem.
Now, it should be noted that baseball has made steps to advance. A couple years ago, Major League Baseball threw us replay lobbyists a bone when they gave umpires the ability to look at video evidence for home run calls.
But here is my question: why stop at home runs? We have the technology to get every call right. If you care enough to get home run calls right, why do you not care about getting other calls right?
With all the new video camera angles and high definition footage, more inconsistencies are being uncovered. Instead of fighting over these inconsistencies, let’s tackle them by using the same technology that prompted the problem. Say yes to replay, say yes to change, say yes to the right answer.