Abner Doubleday invented the game of baseball in Cooperstown, New York in 1839. By today’s standards that game, their original equipment, and some of their rules seem archaic; there were no helmets, no inside chest protectors, no oversized gloves, and no replays of disputable home runs.
Over the past 173 years, the game has seen many changes. It has appropriately evolved with the times, it’s popularity, and it’s marketability. Changes have been made to make the baseball player more comfortable and quicker like the transformation of the old wool uniforms to mass-produced team brands made from space age fabrics.
Point is, because of changes in technology, the game and those responsible for running it, have made many necessary adjustments that have enhanced its enjoyment and popularity. But have they done enough?
Case in point, we have now come to yet another point in time where it is necessary to ‘update’ the game again in order to make its outcome fair to both sides. The cry for instant replay made its greatest plea almost 2 years ago to the day; June 2, 2010, when Detroit Tigers pitcher Armondo Galarraga was denied being credited with baseball’s 21st perfect game because of a blown call made by verteran umpire Jim Joyce involving the 27th batter to come to the plate.
Fast forward to June 1, 2012 and Mets pitcher Johan Santana who was vieing for his team’s first no hitter in their franchise’s history. A ball hit by former Met Carlos Beltran clearly was fair on replay but was determined to be foul by umpire Adrian Johnson.
If called correctly, Santana doesn’t have his no hitter and history would not have been made.
Since at the present time, only ‘disputed’ home runs are subject to replay, aren’t the two stunning examples above reason enough for instant replay to be instituted by MLB? Naysayers would cry that “You’re compromising the integrity of the game”. Or ”It’s not the way the game is supposed to be played.” Well, it was supposed to be played with little kid gloves once upon a time. The typical first baseman’s glove is now almost 2.5 times the size of the ones that were used in the 19th century!
Some others insist that ” Baseball games are too long already.” With a centrally located area designated by the Commissioner, a panel of umpires could review a call in a matter of seconds. How long was it, if you watched the Santana no hitter, before replays appeared on the screen of the blown foul ball by Betran? Literally seconds!
Furthermore, if a typical game lasts say 2 hrs. 40 min. and with replays in force the average game was delayed by an extra 5 minutes, wouldn’t it be worth the extra time in order for the calls to be correct so that its outcome need not be questioned or disputed?
Today we have the technology for instant replays and if it were available in 1839, don’t you think that Abner Doubleday would have implemented it as part of the rules, the same way he would have had all ball players wear helmets if they too were accessible?
The NFL has adopted many new rules and regulations and it still the most popular sport in the country. They have managed to keep up with technology and utilize it so that it’s advantageous to both teams on the field. Moreover, the average football game is close to 3 hours and no one complains.
It’s high time that MLB join the NFL, NBA, and NHL and begin the use of instant replay. It isn’t 1839 any longer…