Bad call or not, instant replay is here to stay
I never wanted instant replay in baseball. When first proposed I felt it would merely cause the game to last longer and possibly not solve anything and the game on Wednesday is what I expected.
When MLB announced they were implementing instant replay in 2008 I was thankful they were only using replay for home run calls. Compared to calling batters safe or out on the basepaths and (God forbid) calling balls and strikes, a home run review is fairly simple and since 2008 instant replay successfully corrected or confirmed home run calls.
However, eventually the umps were going to blow a call, and sure enough they did.
I do not dispute that Angel Hernandez blew the call last night; Chris Perez gave up a homerun, and the call was not close. As Bob Melvin said, it was obvious to everyone in the park except to the four men who had to make the call.
Since the non-home run call there have been appeals to change the ruling, including from the great Buster Olney of ESPN (insiders only), and although I agree with their sentiment I don’t think Bud Selig should appear from heaven and magically award Adam Rosales a dinger.
Besides being unprecedented, the move is also highly impractical. First, how would changing the call work? Would the teams have to meet up again for a ‘makeup’ game, starting in the ninth inning as Olney suggests? Heck, why not erase the whole game and restart the game from the first inning then.
After the blown call many commentators stated that Angel Hernandez cost the Athletics the game. Again, I understand the sentiment, but I have to disagree. Yes, the home run call was blown, but the A’s still had a runner on second with two outs. They then loaded the bases before Daric Barton grounded out to Chris Perez to end the game.
What if the A’s had proceeded to tie the game, then take the lead, and win the game despite the call? Would this still be an issue? What if they tied it, then the Indians won the game in the bottom of the ninth or in extras? I get the feeling most commentators feel the A’s deserved to win the game, even though the home run would only have tied the game.
The call to action to change the outcome of the game became moot when MLB released a statement on Thursday afternoon stating: “"By rule, the decision to reverse a call by use of instant replay is at the sole discretion of the crew chief. In the opinion of Angel Hernandez, who was last night's crew chief, there was not clear and convincing evidence to overturn the decision on the field. It was a judgment call, and as such, it stands as final.”
Fortunately or unfortunately, replay is here to stay and MLB will implement expanded instant replay in 2014. Instant replay can work, and overall thus far the umpires have proven my doubts mostly unfounded. But what frightens me is people believing instant replay makes everything perfect, which Angel Hernandez proved is not true.
Umpires and referees blow calls every single day, in all sports and in all levels of competition. Instant replay did not, and will not, stop umpires from making mistakes in the future. I am confident over the course of the remainder of the season the Athletics will get a few calls they probably didn’t deserve, and the Tribe will get unlucky with some other calls which may, or may not, ‘cost the team the game.’
The call was blown, the game is over. It’s time to get over it.
You may not like Buster Olney, and that is fine, but it is rude to insult a respected (by a vast majority of fans and writers) in an article. None-the-less, I agree Hernandez needs replacing
Replay is a bad idea in all sports. As far as baseball, if you want improved umpiring then replace Angel Hernandez and CB Bucknor. The real reason these two incompetent boobs still have jobs is that they are protected minorities,