The Baltimore Orioles along with all of MLB have benefited from instant replay. I was a proponent of instant replay. And I still am. But of late I’ve started to see some issues.
There were multiple calls across the league this year in which it almost came across like well in theory the runner COULD have been out so we’ll give the benefit of the doubt and overturn the call. And I’m talking about situations in which a runner’s leg came off the bag…but is it possible his pant leg was still on? It just seemed that too many “theoretical arguments” are being allowed to seep into replay.
And the net result will eventually be something similar to what’s happened in the NFL. Nobody seems to know what a catch is anymore. Did the guy have control of the ball? Did he have two feet in bounds? Did he make a “football move?” Listen, I’ve watched a lot of football in my life, and I have no clue what a football move is!
But that’s where the NFL is when it comes to replay. The ability to slow down the play and look at it again has introduced all of that int the game. Replay’s almost a tit-for-tat type of thing. And baseball might not be far behind.
And I can’t tell you for sure what the solution is. Perhaps enforcing the spirit of the rules as opposed to stringently enforcing the rules to the written word. In Saturday’s NLDS game the Chicago catcher was called for blocking the plate on replay. His leg jetted out in front of home plate before he had the ball. Guess what? Had he not done that, he would have fallen over.
In accordance with how the rule was written, the umpires got it right. But I highly doubt that the spirit of the rule was intended to be such that players had to risk falling over. Again, I’m a proponent of replay. I hope that it’s here to stay. I just think that it has to be tweaked a bit.
And when I say tweaked, I think it’s the mentality of the umpire that need to be tweaked. Again, the spirit of the rules perhaps as opposed to anything else. If on replay a runner gets to a base at the same time as the ball (and the original call was out), rule him safe. Yes there has to be indisputable evidence that the call was wrong, and a tie doesn’t ean that the runner got there first. But we all know a tie goes to the runner. More spirit of the rules, and less nitty-gritty…that’ll make replay a rousing success.