Open Mic: MLB Must Take Responsibility and Reconsider Replay

A KimCorrespondent IMay 21, 2008

It doesn’t matter your allegiance.

It can be to the Yankees or the Red Sox. Your blood can run Carolina blue or that other blue. You can call yourself a fan of American football or of the European variety. But all fans have been uniting against one team since the beginning of time: the black and white.

The zebras. Or the umps. The refs.

In the thick of every sport lies officiating. Though referees uniforms might run black and white, it appears that calls don’t. There are frequent no calls. Good calls. Bad calls. Questionable calls.

Sunday, Bob Davidson mistakenly overruled Mike Reilly and called the ball foul off a fair three-run home run for Carlos Delgado. Bad call.

The infamous “no goal,” or Brett Hull’s infamous goal scored in triple overtime of Game Six of the Stanley Cup Final, giving the Dallas Stars a 2-1 victory over Buffalo. Good call for Stars. Bad call for Buffalo.

And don’t get me started on some calls made in the playoffs.

But fans can forgive bad calls. What they can’t forgive is not trying to avoid them.

The NFL has their challenges. Good call.

The NBA utilizes instant replay. Good call.

The MLB has no instant replay? You get the point.

The NFL first adopted instant reply in 1986, Canadian football in 2006. The NBA, followed by college basketball. Cricket. Rugby. Even rodeo has instant replay. Yes, even the Professional Bull Riders organization can agree that instant replay is beneficial.

Sunday was only one example of why Major League Baseball needs to adopt instant replay. Numbers show increasing support from team owners, growing from a minute minority to a majority support some form of instant replay. In fact, the collective general managers voted 25-5 in favor of exploring instant replay last year.

Any referee’s judgment call is part of the game. That means occasional bad calls. This should not deter fans from the game. If it does, you’re forgetting what it is you’re watching: a game.

But how about questionable calls when the ball has left the field of play? How about disputed home run calls, is it in or out of the ball park? Is it fair or foul?  Why the MLB chooses to continually rely solely on the judgment a handful of men on matters that are often humanly impossible to make accurately is mind-boggling, especially when they can dramatically swing the outcome of a game.

History is littered with good calls and bad.

The fans don't expect referees to always get it right.

But can we all agree that fans deserve a try?