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Thursday (No more MLB replay, please) edition: Wha' Happened?

  • Blog Post by: Michael Rand
  • June 3, 2010 - 9:24 AM

We all saw what happened yesterday. Detroit pitcher Armando Galarraga was robbed of what would have been baseball's weekly perfect game (seriously, it would have been the 21st in history ... the fourth since July of 2009 ... and the third this season). And later, the Twins had a more compelling excuse for a loss than more failed hitting in the clutch when an ump missed a call at second base that led directly to Seattle's victory.

If any night should have convinced us that more replay is needed in baseball, it was Wednesday. And yet we sit here Thursday morning after thinking about it for a while, and our overriding sentiment is "meh, no thanks."

Does the technology exist to review more than just home runs (which, by the way, we don't mind)? Of course. But the game has been fine without it. We won't quite go so far as to say that blown calls are part of the charm of baseball (1985 World Series fans from St. Louis might agree), we will say this: baseball would lose something with the human element taken out of play. If we were concerned solely with rigid accuracy, balls and strikes could be called by a machine. But more than in any other sport -- for better and for worse -- baseball's umps are a part of the game. They make mistakes. More often than not, they get it right.

Subjecting them to second-guessing over every close call -- or even just a couple per game, if baseball wanted to try some sort of NFL-style challenge system -- would make games longer, chop up the rhythm and just generally not work as well in baseball as some might think. Sometimes things intended as improvements don't actually make things better. One anomaly of a night shouldn't convince anyone otherwise.

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