Baseball's Stubbornness Is Going to Hurt Them in the Long Run

Steven ResnickSenior Writer IOctober 10, 2009

NEW YORK - JULY 15:  Commissioner of Major League Baseball Bud Selig speaks at a press conference before the 79th MLB All-Star Game at Yankee Stadium on July 15, 2008 in the Bronx borough of New York City.  (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)

There's one thing in Major League Baseball that it tries to hang on to, and that is the human element of the game. This means there are going to be missed calls on the field, and fans just have to accept it.

The NBA, NHL, and NFL all have adapted with the technology and have approved the use of replay in certain situations. In fact, the NFL has the most plays that can be reviewed.

Humans make mistakes; there's no doubt about that, but in the NBA, NHL, and NFL, they can look at it and make the call right. In baseball, they cannot. Very rarely does an umpire ask for help when they don't have the correct angle on the play.

A classic example is a player is tagged out with the glove, but the ball is in the hand of the fielder and not the glove. Therefore, the runner is actually safe until that ball tags him.

Baseball did decide on replay, but only for home runs: whether the ball went fair or foul or whether it is a double or a home run. There's no replay for whether a ball hit down the line was fair or foul, there's no replay for calls on the bases whether the runner was tagged correctly or not, the runner did they touch home or not, etc....

The only thing I will agree with in regards to replay in baseball is that balls and strikes should not be able to be reviewed unless in special circumstances.

I don't know how many times this year I saw an umpire call a strike on a right-handed batter and the pitch hit the line for the left-handed batter's box.

There's clearly something wrong with that picture, but for close balls and strikes, nope, it should not be allowed or even considered.

What should be considered was the play that happened in the top of the 11th inning when Joe Mauer hit a ball down the left field line that was clearly fair, but Phil Cuzzi, who was looking at the play from 20 feet away called it foul. Replays showed it was at least six inches fair.

Right now, there's nothing the Twins can do about it, and that's what's disgusting about the stubbornness of baseball to expand the replays. How many more blown calls in regular season and playoff games are going to happen before there's a change?

Cuzzi's call was not a bad call and it wasn't a horrendous call, what it was though is unconscionable. That call absolutely cannot happen in the playoffs!

In the end, though, it's calls like these that turn baseball fans off to the game. The die-hard fans will stay, but if there's continuation of this kind of umpiring it won't be for long.

Baseball needs to get off this stance of that they want the human error in it. I'm sorry; that's not going to work any more, especially since there are so many cameras at the game and different angles to make sure the correct call is made.

An argument against that is that it would take time, and baseball already is a rather long game. Well as a fan would you rather make sure a call gets right by sitting an extra five minutes, or would you rather have the call made wrong and save five minutes of time?

I'm pretty sure that you'll wait the five minutes to make sure the call was right. Baseball immediately needs to change its policies on replays to include if the ball was fair or foul down the right or left field lines.

It's time for baseball to get rid of this stubbornness; replay is not bad for baseball. The human element of the game is getting worse, and the only thing that will be able to fix it is by instituting more replay.

The notion of having umpires try to help each other out doesn't work, because rarely if ever does an umpire ask for the other members of his crew on the field for help.