Instant Replay: The Equalizer

Tom McLeanCorrespondent IAugust 17, 2009

PITTSBURGH - SEPTEMBER 23:  Referee Gerry Austin emerges from the replay booth during the San Francisco 49ers game against the Pittsburgh Steelers on September 23, 2007 During the NFL game at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The Steelers won 36-17. (Photo by Rick Stewart/Getty Images)

It's hard to imagine why someone wouldn't want to make a sport better. Maybe tradition is a leg to stand on in an argument like this, but usually people like progression. They like the idea that things get better and, especially in sport, that things can be fair. This belief explains why people don't like steroids and why they do like instant replay.

The NFL was one of the first sports to adopt a system for instant replay during the actual game, and it worked (sorry Brian Billick, but it does). Even tennis was able to adopt a system of instant replay during the matches. Now, Major League Baseball is establishing instant replay—except they really aren't.  

Now, to all of you baseball crazies, calm down: They have put a "system" of instant replay in for home runs. Here's the problem. More times than i can count, I've seen incredibly important plays called incorrectly on the field of play instead of over the outfield walls. This is no indictment on the umpires of the pastime, but the fact of the matter is they miss calls. They're human for goodness sake!

Now I'm sure that this isn't news to anyone, but the critics aren't saying anything about the need for replay. So here I am, a lowly sports fan from Southern California, demanding instant replay in baseball, not because I want play to be stopped but because I want a better game.

People believed that instant replay would slow down games and that was reason enough to keep the status-quo—meaning no replay.  Does replay slow down NFL games?  Sure it does.  My question to all you "sports fans" is this: what's your hurry?  Action is great, but I love having the extra 10 minutes per game to stuff my face with my mom's special guacamole and those dipping chips. I also like watching a game decided by the play on the field, not by an underpaid zebra looking for a chance to be too special.  

My basic point is that baseball needs instant replay like teams need jerseys. This isn't just a rant; this is critical to the quality and integrity of any game. A bad call at first base in the ninth inning shouldn't decide a team's fate in a game, just like a fan shouldn't decide the outcome of a game in foul territory (that's for you Cubs fans).  So if you're a fan that loves the game as it is today and thinks that the game shouldn't change for the better, just keep in mind that you probably have something in common with Barry Bonds, Pete Rose, Rafael Palmeiro, David Ortiz, Manny Ramirez, and Bud Selig.