Instant Replay... How About Now?
OK, so Ryan Madson deserved to lose. What else is new?
This time it wasn't a towering, 450-foot, no-doubt-about-it, hope-deflating, spirit-murdering, punch-to-the-gut bomb of a home run that Madson served up to end the game. Instead, it was an RBI double down the third-base line in the bottom of the ninth that gave the opponent, in this case the Florida Marlins, a walk-off victory.
Except, thanks to umpire Bob Davidson, it wasn't.
According to Davidson, it was just a foul ball. Madson ended up escaping the inning, Carlos Ruiz went deep in the 10th, and Brad Lidge struck out two and picked up a save as the Phillies went on to sweep the Fish and keep pace with the Braves in the NL East.
"I was right on top of it, and it was wide of the bag," Davidson said afterward. "I understand that's the winning run, but in my opinion it was foul."
Well, actually, Bob, regardless of your opinion, you weren't on top of it. You blew it. And everybody knows it, including you. But, considering all the bad luck the Phillies have had this year (15 guys on the DL), maybe it was about time something went their way.
I'm a baseball purist. I love the game and its rich history. And, no matter what, I'll never apologize for a Phillies win. But it's time for instant replay.
Not for balls-and-strikes, but definitely for more than just home runs. It should be used for all questionable fair-and-foul calls, and all questionable safe-and-out calls.
Hell, even the Little League World Series uses expanded replay. Why not the big leagues?
Bud Selig is the worst commissioner in baseball history. Revenues have soared during his tenure — granted — but so has PED use, which has tarnished the sport more the Pete Rose ever did. Plus, remember that time when the All-Star Game ended in tie? There's nothing this guy can't bungle, and he has been slow on the uptake when it comes to instant replay.
Don't get me wrong: I don't want the NFL sytem (which Little League has used as a model). Don't give me challenge flags and the inevitable delays and commercial breaks that would come with them. Don't give me a limit on the number of calls that can be overturned. Don't give me an official "under the hood." Don't give me gimmicks.
Just get the calls right.
Take 10 seconds or so. Have a guy upstairs, or in New York, look it over. Do it the way it's currently done for a home run around the foul pole, and make the call. That's it.
Clean. Simple. Correct. It will help baseball, and it will help the umpires.
Armando Galarraga keeps his perfect game. Jim Joyce isn't a blubbering mess, full of tears and regret. Bob Davidson doesn't end up on the defensive.
And Ryan Madson takes another loss on the chin, as he deserves, perhaps forcing the Phillies to restructure the back end of their bullpen when they still have time, when it's early August in South Florida and not late October, Game 5, at Yankee Stadium.
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