One Mistake May Lead To Another…Instant Replay

Putting it in the wrong hole while making love is an embarrassing but generally acceptable mistake in certain circles, or so I’ve heard… Mistakes happen, but some mistakes are just unforgivable and unacceptable. For example, an airplane pilot falling asleep in the cockpit and waking up to a pile of burning rubble, “my bad” is probably not going to cut it. Or a doctor taking out a kidney, when the patient is in for a liver transplant, “oops” probably isn’t going to go over too well. And recently, umpire Jim Joyce made the biggest mistake an umpire can make. Read more.

It’s bad enough that he missed an obvious call, but that mistake is glaring, seeing how it cost Armando Galarraga a perfect game and his rightful place in baseball history. Perfect games happen once in a blue moon, well, in most seasons, we’ve already seen two this year which is an anomaly in itself. After watching the replay, Joyce broke into tears and apologized to Galarraga, who for his part, handled the situation with grace. There’s a lot of pitchers out there that would have lost a cleet up Joyce’s ass after that missed call. If you didn’t see the play, it wasn’t even close. This latest blown call has evoked memories of past umpires who were shamed for blowing huge calls, does anyone remember Denkinger?

The blown call has also lent credence to the MLB expanding its use of instant replay. Currently, the MLB uses instant replay only for boundary calls, homeruns , foul balls etc. But now, there’s huge pressure to use instant replay to make sure calls aren’t missed. I have to admit, I was against it when they brought instant replay into the game for boundary calls but I held my tongue. But if they expand instant replay to check missed calls I’m going to write a very nasty letter to the commissioner. What’s next? Instant replay for balls and freaking strikes? It’s getting ridiculous. For the NFL, I can understand, but not for baseball. The game is slow enough, do we need to slow it down by seeing 15 different angles in slow motion of one blown call when the next batter is just going to fly out to end the inning anyway? These umpires are the best in the business, and they’re human, and sometimes they make unacceptable mistakes, but that, to me, has always been a part of the game of baseball.

Baseball has always been a game where you cut corners and you cheat, and sometimes lady luck smiles your way, that’s the beauty of the game. It’s a game of failure, everything is stated on how often you fail, it’s a game of imperfection; you can’t try and perfect it with instant replay. Most times when infielders turn a double play, they don’t even really touch the bag and that’s been accepted for years, it’s called a neighbourhood play. Instant replay would call that a missed call.

Truth be told, Jim Joyce’s first mistake wasn’t that he missed the call and called the runner safe, it was that his head wasn’t where it’s supposed to be under the umpire code. It’s an unwritten rule in baseball, if you make a spectacular play in the field and the play is going to be close, more often than not, the umpire will give you the benefit of the doubt, usually emphatically, and everyone accepts that. I don’t care how close Joyce saw the play, you give the guy the perfect game on etiquette alone and that was his mistake, one that will overshadow a brilliant umpiring career and one that he will have to live with and be known for, for the rest of his life. Let’s not make another mistake by bringing in instant replay and ruining the last pure sport.