Honestly, Major League Baseball is so stubborn when it comes to change, but that may be about to change.
A profession set so deep in its ways that a bitter woman is more prone to change her view of men. Yeah, it is that bad especially when we live in an age where technological advances have made life easier. Not just everyday living, but sports as well with the NFL, NBA and NHL, which have all implemented instant replay to get the call right.
But give the game of baseball an ounce of credit for at least taking baby steps when it realized history was at stake. Despite back-to-back blown calls on definite home runs by New York Mets’ Carlos Delgado on May 18 and Geovany Soto of the Chicago Cubs a night later, Major League Baseball still did not consider addressing this serious issue until Alex Rodriguez was robbed of a homer on the 21st – the second bad call of the week at Yankee Stadium.
Rodriguez sent the pitch off the steps in right center field, but was credited with only one homer instead of two for the night. This can’t happen again to Rodriguez since he has a realistic chance to challenge for the all-time home run record (762) currently held by the infamous Barry Bonds.
After realizing this, baseball acted without hesitation to announce the possibility of using instant replay in the Arizona Fall League. Progress? Yes, but whether it will come to pass is yet to be known since baseball continues to drag its feet.
Even with all the positive results stemming from the use of replays in sports and a majority vote (25-5) in favor of a second look by general managers in November, baseball commissioner Bud Selig once again decided to keep that perspective out of America’s Pastime, willing to live with the same amount of human error as before. This rejection was not in response of reviewing balls and strikes, but more critical matters: whether a runner is safe or out, a ball is fair, foul, a home run, a ground-rule double or if there was fan interference.
However, since there will be no instant replays to refer to until possibly the 2009 season, everyone has to hope that the umpires assume right in all futures instances of uncertainty.
And consider this ugly scenario.
In the bottom of the ninth with no outs to spare, the title thirsty Chicago Cubs trail by a run with the tying run at third base and Derrek Lee down to his last strike. Lee gets the good part of the bat on the ball, rapidly sending it into left field and in the direction of the foul pole. To those seated in the section, the ball is without a doubt fair and one umpire sees it the same, but his counterpart objects, resulting in a discussion amongst the crew.
Meanwhile, television and stadium replays show the ball take a final curve into fair territory for what should be a game-winning home run. But, the final decision lies with the umpire, who rules the ball foul. With the whole world watching in disbelief, Lee pops up the next pitch, ending the game and even worse an opportunity for the Cubs to finally end their lengthy title drought. Sad right? Definitely.
Luckily, this is just a dramatization, but very capable of happening when there is a pace of three incorrect calls in four days and majority of the season left to be played.
For certain, the use of instant replay won’t make everyone happy, but it is more than bound to right some wrongs. Yes, it may add time to a game that takes nearly three hours to complete, but another look probably will be shorter than a Lou Piniella rant or Tony La Russa pitching change.
Not everyone is demanding baseball to totally change like in Any Given Sunday during a heated argument between Miami Sharks team owner Christina Pagniacci (Cameron Diaz) and Coach Tony D’Amato (Al Pacino) when she told him “You will start Willie (Jamie Foxx) on Sunday and you will make the adjustment to modern times.”
Baseball its time to come on into the 21st century.