*** Written By Joe Saponara. Follow Him On Twitter @FootballnHoops***
There are plenty of things wrong with instant replay. For starters, it usually is not instant. Often we know what the correct call should be before an umpire even gets the headset on. Still, decisions usually take longer than they should. I could go off in different directions with football and basketball, so I’ll stick to baseball for this rant. Especially since it is July and the other major sports are not currently playing any regular season or playoff games. Recently I was watching a game and the announcer mentioned how baseball wanted replays to be handled within two minutes, but numerous reviews had gone longer. I’m not sure if this a rule or not. Machines should shut off after two minutes and calls should stand if this is the allowed time. Maybe it was just a suggestion. I’ll be honest. I don’t even know what the baseball replay rules are. Teams run out of challenges but they can still suggest that a play gets reviewed.
Last year a key game in September was won by St. Louis against the Reds. Announcers knew right away that the batted ball should have been ruled dead when it bounced out of play and came back on the field. These stadiums are often constructed poorly in terms of objects being too close to the field and causing confusing outcomes, but that’s another topic. Umpires left the field and ruled that a challenge was not made quickly enough. I’m not sure what system would be best, but someone needed to get that play reviewed. Maybe an umpire in the stadium or studio. It should not have to come from the dugout, and certainly not in a few seconds. The crowd cheered. A ringing phone could not be heard. Perhaps an announcer should have thrown a challenge flag from up above down to the field. I’m kidding. I think.
Balls down the line can’t be reviewed if they are in front of the umpire. For those familiar with wrestling, I’m tapping out. In other words, I surrender. Some people might remember the Johan Santana no-hitter. Carlos Beltran hit a ball that was called foul. Years later some people thought that Santana would not have that no-hitter if we had replay back then. I was one of them. Not true. Couldn’t be reviewed. They actually had a form of replay back then, but just boundary calls in terms of home runs. Regardless, it could not get reviewed today. One of the problems in all sports is we don’t know what would have happened if play had not been stopped.
For baseball, you can’t tell what would have happened when guys are running around the bases. That Chase Utley slide play in the 2015 postseason highlighted this issue. We can look at which players touched the base or if the sliding player was tagged. When someone is called out and slides past the base, why would a fielder tag the guy who was already called out? I was at a game when someone on the Mets ran from first to second on a grounder with two outs. The batter was called out, and the player who had rounded second slowed down as he approached third because three outs ends an inning for those of you not familiar with the game. It was a close play at first, and the ball was then thrown to third. That runner was tagged for a meaningless fourth out. Hold on. Replay showed that apparently the batter made it to first safely. This didn’t matter. The meaningless fourth out now suddenly became the crucial third out. No challenge. The inning would be over either way.
Monday, Chase Headley bounced a ball off his foot. I can understand an umpire missing it live and thinking the ball was a regular grounder to the fielder. However, we have replay. You can see it clearly. Of course this can’t be reviewed either. Maybe it falls under that category of being in front of an umpire. I don’t know. It would make too much sense to overturn a clear mistake. It’s not even like a case where they ruled it foul and you don’t know how things would change if suddenly it gets ruled fair. The ball should be dead when it hits his foot, and there’s no controversy. I expect that some football calls will annoy me in the fall. Probably basketball as well. Expect the replay subject to come up again. We’ll review it.