Saturday, August 18, 2012

Not In Favor of Replay, But Something Needs to be Done About MLB Umpires

As expanded replay is being heavily considered in the game of baseball, the umpires sure are making a great case for its approval.

A new expanded replay system is being tested using camera and radar-based technologies to identify the truth behind fair or foul calls, and can even conclude whether a player is out or safe at first base.  Many are opposed to the new system, allowing human error to be a part of the game.  But a little too much leeway has been given of late, and maybe its time for a change.

“It would take a lot less time to go look at a replay than to go out and argue a call,” Mets manager Terry Collins said, “so why not get it right?”

It has been an issue for years, but this season, it seems like now more than ever Major League umpires are attempting to take over the game of baseball, exercising their will over games with idiotic calls and quick ejections.  And there are plenty of examples to back this up.

Does anyone remember the call made in early May by umpire Tim Welke during a Dodgers-Rockies game at first base?  Rockies first baseman Todd Helton picked the ball as Jerry Hairston Jr came across the bag, but the problem was, Helton was a good four feet off the bag.  Misfortune befell the Dodgers again on Thursday when Angel Campos tossed Dodgers outfielder Matt Kemp for, as Kemp says, saying "let's go 'Dre" to Andre Ethier who was at the plate. (Listen to the video, you can tell Kemp doesn't say anything worthy of getting sent packing, yet Campos tosses one of the best players in baseball in the second inning because he can.)

Not enough evidence for you?  Alright, we'll keep going.  That same Thursday afternoon, A's pitcher Brandon McCarthy came off the front of the mound to make a nice sliding catch on a popped-up bunt, but home plate umpire Laz Diaz immediately ruled it a trap.  You can watch the video a million times, in no way does that even look like a trap based on how his glove is turned and how the ball landed in there.

Fine, but just one more.  Friday night, during the Orioles-Tigers game.  Jhonny Peralta grounds a ball to third, rookie sensation Manny Machado throws a laser to first baseman Mark Reynolds who, after watching the replay multiple times, makes an amazing tip-toe-on-the-bag diving pick for the out.  But then the impossible happens.  The umpires reversed the call.  They reverse an out call at first base.  Can that even happen?  Reynolds slams his glove down, and the second base umpire, feeling neglected that no one is yelling at him, immediately takes action, giving Reynolds the hook.

In all of these instances, expanded replay would help tremendously.  Umpires wouldn't be calling ridiculous strikes that are practically in the other batter's box, they wouldn't get a simple 5-3 putout horribly wrong and act like they're omniscient when someone argues.  I am adamantly opposed to expanded replay, but if this is what we're in for with Major League umpires for the remainder of this year and the future, something needs to be done.  And fast.

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