The Rich is happy. He’s looks out upon the diamond and sees tranquility and civility. Why, you ask? Because there is now relief available for bad calls. Baseball is committed to ‘getting it right’. Even Angel Hernandez and Joe West seem to be less confrontational.
Count me among those who were skeptical about adding instant replay to baseball. After all, wouldn’t we be losing the human element? It turns out we’ve lost only the negative human element and inserted civility into the game.
Now it is true that we won’t have Bobby Cox and Earl Weaver style tirades. Poor Bobby Cox will forever be the leader in ejections. BTW, speaking of Cox, he’s a man of excellent character. Years ago Dick Howser gave Cox his first break in coaching. Later when Bobby was GM and then Manager of the Braves, he would always take a call from Dick’s brother in Atlanta and provide him with tickets upon request. Dick’s brother never abused the privilege and it’s nice to see loyalty in the business.
Wait, what was I writing about? Oh, yeah. Instant replay. Has it slowed the game down? No. Has it sped the game up? Not yet. Has it improved the level of discourse between players/managers and the umpires. Absolutely. And indeed, MLB is getting the calls right – just like the NFL.
To me there is a greater issue at work: Think of the heartbreak that will be avoided in the future. There will be no more calls like Jim Joyce’s ‘safe’ call which took away a perfect game. There will be no more World Series calls that affect the outcome of a game and a series like Don Denkinger’s ‘safe’ call in the 1985 World Series. Not only did the calls hurt the teams and their fans, they are errors in judgment carried by some of the finest umpires in the game’s history. Now umpires know that their calls on not life and death. They seem far more relaxed and professional.