Thursday, June 3, 2010

What time is it? 15 minutes past time for instant replay

I admit it. As a little kid back in the 1960's, by now I thought we'd all be flying around in space ships.

Well, the space ships aren't available, but instant replay is, so it's time for baseball's muckety-mucks, namely commissioner Bud Selig, to use a baseball phrase, to get his head out.

Basically, if there was a technology God, he or she would be crying out, "Use me, you old fools."

Those of us old enough to remember George Jetson and his boss Cosmo Spacely in the animated television sitcom, 'The Jetsons' or those youngsters who have seen the Jetsons on the Cartoon Network or one of the networks that show old cartoons, know how folks drove space ships instead of cars.

In the early 60's, the Jetsons show was a Sunday night highlight for kids before sliding into Saturday morning programming.

It was a look - albeit cartoon-oriented - into the future. Wikipedia says it was a glimpse into life in 2062 and also was the first program ever broadcast in color by ABC.

Like my late father, I'm a little late to technology, so we likely were the last house on the block to have a color television.

I thought about the Jetsons and the use of technology Wednesday night while watching baseball umpire Jim Joyce blow a call at first base with two outs in the top of the ninth inning that prevented Detroit pitcher Armando Galarraga from getting the perfect game he deserved.

Cleveland's Jason Donald bounced a grounder to the right of Detroit first baseman Miquel Cabrera. He moved over and fielded the ball and threw back to first to Galarraga, who caught the ball and hit the bag just before Donald landed on the base.

Galarraga retired the next batter and the Tigers recorded a 3-0 victory over the Indians.

Jones saw the replay after the game and admitted with incredible remorse that he blew the call.

The ump went to Galarraga and Detroit manager Jim Leyland and apologized for making the error. Galarraga and Leyland both showed nothing but class after the episode.

Leyland understandably did blow a gasket on the field after the game, but clearly showed compassion for Joyce during his post-game media chat.

Incredibly, Galarraga immediately following the play, did not lose his composure.

There really is no reason why Joyce and his crew couldn't have seen that replay one minute after making the call and then getting the call correct. The Tigers, and viewing audiences on both Cleveland and Detroit telecasts, saw the replay, but not the umpires.

The timing (during the game and during these media times) of the bad call will make Joyce's mistake seem as if it is the worst ever.

However, it wasn't very different from a call missed by Joyce in the bottom half of the eighth of the same game.

The man, like all of us sometimes do, had a bad day.

Joyce called Detroit's Johnny Damon safe at first on a play in which he should been ruled out. Cleveland pitcher Fausto Carmona had pitched a great game of his own and Damon should have been the third out in the bottom of the eighth.

Instead, Damon was safe and the Tigers eventually scored two runs in the inning after Miguel Cabrera singled in Austin Jackson. On that same play, Indians outfielder Shin-Soo Choo made a throwing error that allowed Damon to score.

That fact alone shows why instant replay should be utilized as best it could and in these two circumstances, it easily could have been done.

The two calls show why the ridiculous case of changing the outcome a day after the fact looms so stupid. Yes, it would be nice if Galarraga got the perfect game he deserved - and earned.

However, that would be insisting life is fair - and it's not. Are we going to return throughout history and change all the bad calls that have occurred. No. We can't change the past.

The future, though, can be improved upon, in this case with the judicious use of technology and instant replay. Numerous calls over the years have been called incorrectly.

No one wants to see instant replay used on every close play. Yet, there can be some mechanisms worked out to use what we have. It won't be easy, but it can be done.

Few folks love baseball more than I always have. It was my third love, just behind a woman's pretty face and legs. No doubt, no sport has more inane concepts and so-called rules that aren't rules.

However, it's time for baseball to start making a move to join the present.

We all know it has been living in the past.

By the way, Galarraga's not-so perfect game should have been the third in 24 days. Oakland's Dallas Braden threw his against Tampa Bay May 9 and Roy Halladay hurled a perfecto last Saturday, May 29.

Junior Griffey retires

Ken Griffey, Jr., retired Wednesday, at least a couple of months late following 22 years in the majors.

But hey, if Willie Mays, the greatest center fielder ever, can step away a little late, then it's good enough for Junior, too.

Griffey is the second greatest center fielder I've seen and I grew up as the world's biggest Mickey Mantle fan. There people named Mantle who didn't love 'The Mick' as much as I did.

However, Mantle's immense skills and talents were diminished by leg injuries and poor off-the habits.

The fact that Griffey rolls by one name, 'Junior', speaks to his greatness. Most observers believe Griffey did his thing without the use of performance-enhancing drugs during a period when many, many players were users.

It will be argued only Hank Aaron (755), Babe Ruth (714) and Mays (660) hit more homers on the straight and narrow than Griffey's 630. Defensively, Junior was as good as anyone. I never saw Joe DiMaggio live, but it's difficult to believe he could have been better than Griffey, Jr.

Question of the day

Is it time to use instant replay?


  1. Yes... But isn't it used in certain situations now? Such as homeruns?

  2. Matter of fact, Bud Selig needs to override that call, due to the fact that the next batter got out.... No stats will change. Bang bang plays, the runner is called out 99% of the time! Selig needs to step in on this one..

  3. Bring instant replay now!

  4. Lets go RED SOX!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  5. Ellis, replay is used in certain situations, but clearly not enough... and hail, no. No changing the call. You gonna change the one Joyce missed in the bottom of the eighth, too, dawg. We live life with unfair decisions, they have to deal as well. However, it makes sense to me to flip the script for the future.... Yo, Joe, wherever it is you want the Red Sox to go, I'm with it.