Ditch the replay system

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.

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3 comments

  1. I love instant replay in football and basketball but they’re different sports in style, flow of game, and logistics. There’s a lot of standing around in football. In hoops, they stop play for fouls, timeouts, and to clean the court of sweat.

    With baseball (and hockey) the flow of the game is what makes it special. Baseball is a lot like life. And instant replay is the three-car pileup on your way home that turns you 30 minute commute into 1 hr and 15 min.

    The five minute delay last night changed the game. It wasn’t Matt Williams fault. I thought his guy beat the throw. I’d have contested it, too. It’s not the umpires fault. They hate being second guessed and they’re just doing their job.

    I loved the idea of replay a month ago. I hate it now. Part of baseball is arguing about umpires. Let’s get back to that. Ditch replay.

  2. And even with replay, the umpires don’t always get it correct. I’ve seen a couple or three safe calls after the outfielder made the catch then dropped the ball on the transfer that the umpires ruled safe, and in every case, the call led to runs in tight ballgames.

  3. I still hope the kinks get worked out for replay…but wow. I have not seen a call like thay about dropping a fly ball, but what does a guy have to do? Make a “baseball move” with the ball, a la the NFL?

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