Graham Blog: Instant Replay Expansion Should Be Looked At In Baseball.....Carefully
Submitted by Carson Now Reader on Mon, 10/15/2012 - 12:27pm
Event Date:October 15, 2012 (All day)
The argument to expand baseball instant replay continues to get stronger and stronger as the seasons pass.
Last night was proof of that during the ALCS Tigers @ Yankees game. During the eighth inning with the Yankees on defense, down 1-0 to the Tigers and two-out, Detroit’s batter Austin Jackson hit a single into right field with Omar Infante at first. Omar raced to second and ended up overrunning the base. The throw from right fielder Nick Swisher came into second base ahead of Infante who was scrambling to get back to the base. Yankees’ second baseman Robinson Cano got the ball and reached to tag Infante which he clearly placed on Infante before he got back. Second base umpire Jeff Nelson ruled Infante safe. If the call was made correctly, the inning would have been over with the Tigers still clinging to a 1-0 lead. Instead, the inning continued, and Detroit ended up scoring two more runs on singles by Avisail Garcia and Miguel Cabrera. The score was 3-0 Detroit which ended up being the final score of the game.
At the end of the game, Nelson reviewed the tape and stated: “The hand did not get in before the tag, the call was incorrect.” Nelson tried to give his explanation by continuing to say: “I had the tag late and the hand going into to the bag before the tag on the chest.” Yankees’ manager Joe Girardi who was ejected from the game for arguing made his voice heard on the matter during a postgame press conference: “It’s frustrating.” “I don't have a problem with Jeff's effort, I don't, because he hustled to get to the play. But in this day and age when we have instant replay available to us, it's got to change. These guys are under tremendous amounts of pressure.”
In a game that is huge on momentum, especially in the postseason, the Yankees would have had momentum on their side if the correct call was made and the game could have ended in a different result. Currently, baseball has instant replay for home runs being fair, foul, or fan interference but only on home runs. The outcry to expand instant replay continues to grow, and maybe last night could have broken the camel’s back.
Baseball should try to expand instant replay for close out or safe calls on the base path only, and have a test for it next year in the postseason to see how it works. I think baseball should leave the strike zone alone, each umpire will always have their own zone, which is the way it has always been, and that is the way it should always be.
Fair or foul calls that are not home runs could be tricky. I say leave them alone as well. You cannot really judge how the play could have gone if you were to reverse a foul call to fair. There would be too many variables possible to judge a correct outcome of the play.
In the end, instant replay should be looked at being expanded, but very carefully in baseball. The game of baseball has always been a ‘human element’ game, and the umpires are correct with their calls more often than not.