googlea875c0213e6e807d.html] Fandads: Talkin' Baseball

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Talkin' Baseball

First off I'd like to apologize to everyone for slacking on our blog. I guess having a baby kind of make it hard to blog about having one. Anyway, I know it isn't very nerdy or what not, but the Fandads aren't just fans of geek/tech/gaming, we're also sports fans. However, this topic is still kind of on the tech side, I've been meaning to write about it since Armando Galarraga got robbed of a perfect game last month, but all of the blown calls in the World Cup have also made it once again relevant. I think that it's time Major League Baseball got on the instant replay bandwagon.

Major League Baseball has to stop living in the past. I’m going to focus on our national pastime, but I would like to briefly mention the World Cup before moving on. The 2010 World Cup experienced its fair share of controversy. Blown calls, negated goals, most of these situations could have been prevented or corrected through the use of instant reply.

The perfect game is one of the most rare occurrences in baseball. There have only been 18 of them since 1900. Galarraga threw a perfect game earlier this year, but the record books won’t show it, and the reason they won’t is due to human error. By now you’ve all read the details, so I won’t go into it, and I’m not writing this to rag on Jim Joyce. Some might even consider the situation to be a great teaching/coaching moment since Galarraga and Joyce handled it as well as could be expected. However, this post is about MLB and their stubbornness, their lack of will in embracing technology, and their stance against the use of instant replay.

MLB was the last of the four major league professional sports organizations to implement instant replay and even then it did so only on a limited basis. As of now, the only things that can be reviewed by instant replay are home runs, whether the ball left the playing field, and whether the ball was subject to fan interference. While these are steps in the right direction, I feel that MLB should expand its use into other areas of the game. Some areas should obviously never come under review, such as balls and strikes, but plays at the plate, base running, and fair and foul balls should be subject to review. I believe that the best solution, so that the game isn’t unnecessarily delayed is to set up a system similar to the NFL. Each team should given a limited amount of challenges per game, that way only plays which could truly change the game are the ones being reviewed.

People will argue that the “human element” is a part of the game. Just visit any baseball message board and you will find plenty of arguments for and against instant replay. I don’t want the essence of the game to change. The phantom tags on double plays and the hit by pitch calls given to players who were missed will still be around, but instant replay would help prevent situations like the perfect game. We have the technology, so why not use it? It isn’t fair to the fans that spent their money, energy, and time on a team only to have the outcome of some games determined by an ump. It isn’t fair to the athletes that sacrifice and struggle to compete at the highest level, isn’t it only fair that they play under the best circumstances? Situations like the perfect game only hurt everyone involved, the pitcher is robbed of his accomplishment, the umpire feels guilty, and the fans feel cheated.

Winning isn’t everything, but if it isn’t an integral part of competition, then why keep score? Hard work should be rewarded, and right is right. In the end it should be the “best man” who wins, and I feel that it is only fair, and for the greater good of the game, if we allow the “best man” to win as much as possible. If some plays have to be reviewed and a few minutes have to be lost in the process, isn’t it worth it?

-Gil