It’s always fun to be at the yard when the Braves win, especially against the Natspos.
But last night’s three-and-a-half-hour-plus marathon was a tad trying, though some of that was because my highly mobile 4-year-old was there. I made two trips to the base-running place near the cow, and my father-in-law took him up there another time.
However, the replay system also added probably 15 minutes to the game time. I liked replay at first, figuring it’s worth adding 5 minutes to a game to be sure it’s not determined by a bad call. But the system is adding too much time. Not only is it the actual replays — like the 5-minute delay on the McOut bunt last night — but also the times the managers stroll out to stall while their video guys tell them whether to challenge. And last night it seemed the Natspos stood around and jawed with the umps after every close play. And then Zimmerman oozed off the field after being picked off. OK, he was hurt. He gets a pass. And Rendon trudged from first back to the batter’s box after a ball he hit went foul. That’s the kind of stuff the umps should speed up. That and, again, the damn stalling by managers to let their guys watch replays.
It isn’t the managers’ fault. They’re trying to win. It’s the system’s fault. Well intentioned though it is, replay needs to go. So far just a third of challenges have resulted in overturned calls. I’d be curious to know how many minutes and hours cumulatively have been larded onto already protracted games.
Enough. It not only slows down a game that even hardcore fans think needs to speed up. It also skews the game’s natural rhythms. Take last night. After that interminable discussion of whether McOut was in fact out at first — he’s safe or he’s out, how hard can it be to watch HD replays and make a call? — Wood was clearly less sharp. Not that he was Madduxian before that delay. But his strike percentage dropped significantly after that, according to a website that somehow compiles every pitch from every MLB game into all sorts of weird stats on lateral movement of pitches and the like.
Maybe there’s a way to use replay in critical situations without dumping quicksand into games. I get the argument that you never know if a play in the first inning or the 9th will affect the outcome. But bottom line, the umps generally get it right. And it’s not life or death, anyway. If the choice is get every call right but slow down the game and mess up the pitchers, or have an occasional missed call, then I’m inclined to vote for the latter.