Baseball Jeremiad

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A Curiously Intelligent Baseball blog

Some “Perfect” Thoughts

Jersey Matt | 6.3.10

I posted these thoughts on Craig Calcaterra’s Hardball Talk blog last night.  Here they are, in all their late night lucidity:

To begin: if this call was made in the third inning, would it be as big of a deal?

Sure, Joyce blew the call.  We all get that.

However, we do have the benefit of slowing down the picture to split-second.

Ah yes: I can hear them now, the calls for replay.

But guys and gals, baseball is different.  There’s a beautiful human element involved in it.  Ball and strikes aren’t standardized.  The multitude of variables in baseball (umpires and field dimensions to name two) are what make it beautiful.
Sure it’s an indelicate argument I’m making, but poor calls, borderline calls, great calls, 50/50 calls are what make baseball a hell of a lot more entertaining and engrossing than any of the other “major” sports.
Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose, sometimes it rains and sometimes the umpire (just as you and I do in life) plain miss the call.

To begin: if this call was made in the third inning, would it be as big of a deal?Sure, Joyce blew the call.  We all get that.  However, we do have the benefit of slowing down the picture to split-second.Ah yes: I can hear them now, the calls for replay.But guys and gals, baseball is different.  There’s a beautiful human element involved in it.  Ball and strikes aren’t standardized.  The multitude of variables in baseball (umpires and field dimensions to name two) are what make it beautiful.  Sure it’s an indelicate argument I’m making, but poor calls, borderline calls, great calls, 50/50 calls are what make baseball a hell of a lot more entertaining and engrossing than any of the other “major” sports.Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose, sometimes it rains and sometimes the umpire (just as you and I do in life) plain miss the call.

And:

I’m not looking forward to a do-over culture invading baseball.

This conversation strikes me as vaguely reminiscent of Little League coaches believing themselves to be Earl Weaver and playing a game under protest because of a close call at first base in the second inning of a game in mid-March.  Calls can’t be arbitrarily made “correct.”  There is integrity (in a limited, sports sense) in making a mistake and realizing the result.  There is no integrity (again in the most limited sense) in changing something the next day.

Another item to consider with replay: how many times are we not able to see clearly the result of a play because of a player or inanimate object screening the result.  The answer, at least in my case, is often.  Would replay be established in much the way it is in football: indisputable video evidence to the contrary call?  That, my friends, would be more more difficult to come by in baseball.

Remember Jeter’s flip?  Was Giambi safe or out?  Can you imagine it now: they’re going to replay.  And the outcome is: we couldn’t get the correct angle.

I humbly submit that replay won’t work well in baseball and we’ll find ourselves with the troubling question of whether or not the “toe was in the crease” as we do in hockey.

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