October 21, 2009

Dottom of the 9th Innong

Yesterday’s Yankees-Angels playoff game was one of the worst umpired games I can remember. Luckily, not one of the three horribly blown calls really affected the outcome of the game, so perhaps I am being too hasty with my scorn. After all, we all be make mistakes, isn’t we?

It’s clear though that there needs to be some sort of expansion to instant replay in baseball from the current system which only covers “home runs.”Certainly you don’t want every ball and strike call to be challenged – we don’t want games to last for days – but in the time it takes for a manager to go out and argue the play, the TV announcers often have time to watch fifty replays from differing camera angles, including super slo-mo and special 3-D rotational gadgetry, and usually have a pretty good idea of whether the call was right or not long before the angry skipper has exhausted his database of expletives.

Couldn’t there be an extra official up in the booth, who could also serve as “official scorer” – a job that the league is already paying someone to do – who simply watches these replays when the manager goes out to complain and signals down to the umpires that perhaps they’d better take a look for themselves, if it is warranted? Would that be so bad?

Certainly, this blown call at third base could have been rectified before Mike Scioscia returned to the dugout… and in fairness to Tim McClelland, upon further review, it’s clear to me he didn’t really blow the call. He got it wrong, no doubt, but watch the replay and you’ll see he was obviously screened and thought Robinson Cano was on the bag when tagged by the catcher. (Updated: Gotta love MLB not letting their video on YouTube. Here's the link to MLB's website. http://mlb.mlb.com/media/video.jsp?content_id=7080147)

While I can understand McClelland’s faux pas – he had a lot to look at on this play - that wasn’t the case with one of the worst calls in baseball history. FoIks give you – Don Denkinger, from the 1985 World Series.

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