How do I start this piece and not just continually bash baseball into the ground, it is hard. It is really hard. It seems ever increasingly that the MLB has continued to magnify its own shortcomings. How has baseball done that? Well maybe it’s not MLBs fault, maybe it’s the makers of high definition televisions, and DirecTV? Nah, it’s clear that it’s Bud Selig and the MLB’s fault.
Now more than ever, baseball needs to expand its instant replay beyond homerun calls. “Instant replay would destroy the integrity of the game!” you say? Would taking a second look at a play to get it correct be more damaging to the integrity of the game than say, a blown call on an infield catch that appeared to be caught but actually short-hopped into the players glove? I don’t think so.
“Human error is part of the game!” a colleague of mine argues, but I disagree. While, there is a small amount of interpretation and judgment in the call of balls and strikes, it should not be judgment as to whether the ball hits the ground or is caught. There should not be any human error on whether the ball is foul or fair.
What it comes down to is the fact that with HDTV, the number of cameras and technology that allows the fans and viewers to see multiple views on almost any play, means that we need to be able to use this technology to get the calls correct. If a ball is foul, it needs to be called foul, likewise if it is fair it should be called fair. It’s disheartening to watch a replay of a play and clearly see that the call on the field is wrong and there is nothing we can do to correct it.
There is no perfect solution, and like many replay systems, it will take time to evolve and grow into a system that has very few kinks. I tell you now though, MLB, it is time for more instant replay.