New York Yankees: The Case for Instant Replay

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New York Yankees: The Case for Instant Replay
(Photo by Scott Boehm/Getty Images)

The New York Yankees are 13-4 in their last seventeen games. On the surface, that's pretty impressive--but if you ask anyone, the Yankees should be better.

Some fans will tell you that the Yankees should be better than 13-4 because they are insatiable and anything less than a 162-0 season is a complete disaster.

They're loonies.

Other fans, however, will tell you that the Yankees very well could be 15-2 if not for some shoddy umpiring.

Now, while it's certainly a stretch to say that one blown call in the beginning or middle of a game can directly cause one team to win or lose, it is not a stretch to say that blown calls at the wrong time can be devastating.

Take, for example the 2007 one-game playoff for the Wild Card between Colorado and San Diego.

The game, if you remember, was won in extra innings when Matt Holliday slid home. Later replays, however, showed that Holliday never actually touched home plate, and that he should have been called out.

A blown call there cost San Diego the postseason.

There is, of course, a way to limit the damage of blown calls: Instant replay.

Every major sport uses it at crucial moments; football is probably where it's most notable, and, in hockey, it was the difference in the 1999 Stanley Cup finals.

Baseball, on the other hand, has only just now begun to use instant replay, and here only for home run calls.

It's a start, but it's not nearly enough.

Any Yankee fan can tell you well enough that games are decided far more often on the base path than via the long ball. If Dave Roberts is called out in 2004.

In a number of recent games, blown calls, not just for the Yankees but for other teams as well, have come to light and with the use of replay by TV broadcasters, it becomes more and more frustrating for fans at the wrong end of the blown calls.

I am not advocating replay for balls and strikes that would be ridiculous and the human element would be totally lost, but I am advocating a more expanded use of replay.

Close plays on the bases can either kill a rally or fuel one, and, at the very least, it is not fair to a pitcher, who may have, for all intents and purposes pitched himself out of an inning, to have to throw another six or seven pitches. Granted, it is the pitcher's fault if he can't work around a blown call, but the consequences can be quite the same as if a player in the field had made an error.

I keep trying to think of arguments against it, and I can't defend them.

Is not the idea here to keep the game's integrity up to snuff? Isn't this why spitballs and excess pine tar are banned and there are drug tests and gambling is forbidden? So the integrity of the game is not ruined?

Then why risk ruining it when the technology exists to correct calls?

I understand that the umpires don't want to lose their jobs, but isn't that the case normally, where if you don't do your job right, you lose it?

Then there's the question of the games taking too long, but this is remedied with a situation of the coach's challenge in football: You're only allowed a certain number of challenges, and if you get it wrong, you're penalized.

How could one be penalized? This is harder to answer. The one that makes the most sense, or seems to be most fitting, is that a manager that gets it wrong gets tossed. Fairly simple, no? At any rate that ought to set apart the managers willing to stand up for their players and those that are not.

It's hard to argue against an expanded use of replay when so much is at stake.

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