You Can Thank Joe Torre for Helping to Keep MLB Behind the Times

You can stick Joe Torre in the same category as Bud Selig and Sepp Blather when it comes to advancing the game using instant replay. And that’s not a good thing.

Torre, who opposed the use of instant replay as a manager, feels the same way in his role as Executive Vice President of Baseball Operations for MLB.

“I have heard many discussions on umpiring and technology over the past two years, including both the pros and the cons of expanding replay,” Torre said in statement.

“However, most in the game recognize that the human element always will be part of baseball and instant replay can never replace all judgment calls by umpires. Obviously, a play like this is going to spark a lot of conversation, and we will continue to consider all viewpoints in our ongoing discussions regarding officiating in baseball.”

Look Joe, adding more replay doesn’t mean we’re completely eliminating the human element. Nobody is saying we need George Jetson’s robot nanny calling balls and strikes. But there’s no reason why umpires shouldn’t be able to use replay on close plays at the bag, especially for plays like the Braves-Pirates one last week.

We argued in 2007, 2008 and last year during Armando Galarraga’s perfect game that baseball needs expanded replay. We even set out guidelines for how and when instant replay should be used. See Joe? You don’t even have to use your brain for this one — we already did all the thinking for you!

Just get your head out of your butts and expand the use of instant replay. It won’t hurt the game; it will improve it.

FIFA Concerned About Wrong Replays

Man, I thought American sports and their leaders/organizers had things backwards. In soccer, we have players cussing out their coaches, players calling out their fans, questionable refereeing, and multiple missed calls. When England got screwed over Sunday by a missed goal call, I figured the outcry that soccer needs to integrate instant replay to review goals would be so strong that FIFA wouldn’t be able to resist. I figured wrong.

Apparently FIFA is run by a man more resistant to progress and the use of technology than Bud Selig, and that’s hard to do. As if not wanting to use replay to get goal calls correctly on the biggest possible stage — the World freaking Cup — is not bad enough, FIFA is more concerned with ensuring that instant replay isn’t utilized on scoreboards within the actual stadiums so as not to incite the fans and players. Apparently in Communist FIFA they don’t want instant replay to exist. My goodness.

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MLB Should Give Teams Two Challenges Per Game, NFL Style

If there was some good to come from the Jim Joyce/Armando Galarraga blown perfect game call, aside from the excellent comportment and sportsmanship displayed in the event’s aftermath, it was that the issue of instant replay has become more prevalent. I have long been a proponent of adding instant replay to MLB and now there seems to be a groundswell of support in its favor. Even Bud Selig, notoriously slow to change, has said he will examine the use of instant replay in baseball. Now that we got this far, we have to make sure the changes are integrated well. Here’s how to do it.

Much like the system used by the NFL, MLB should allow each team two challenge flags to throw per game. Challenges should not be used to review balls and strikes called by the homeplate umpire as this is one of the accepted “human element” aspects of the game that should be left alone. Much like Jeff Passan described at Yahoo! Sports, the subjective calls that are up to umpire interpretation should be left alone. Challenges could be used to review calls at the bases, runners tagging up, tag outs, catches vs. traps, fair vs. foul balls, hit by pitches, and fan/catcher interference. Just like in the NFL, if the team wins its challenge, it gets to retain its challenge but it loses one if the challenge fails.

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Jim Leyland Does Not Want Instant Replay in MLB Despite Blown Call

Umpire Jim Joyce blew a call at first base that cost Tigers pitcher Armando Galarraga a perfect game. As a result, we said once again that baseball should expand its use of instant replay. Unfortunately, we have guys like Jim Leyland who like things the way they are. After the Tigers beat the Indians 3-0 and the perfect game was blown, the Tigers manager vouched for umpires citing the almighty “human element.” Here’s what he said:

This is the human element of the game, it’s going to remain that way forever — I think it should. I’m sure somebody’s going to say ‘If they had a replay on that play the kid would have had a perfect game.’ Somebody will say something like that but not me. That’s the human element and it’s a good element because the umpires to a great job, there’s no question about that. They’re a whole lot right more than they are wrong and they make some unbelievable calls on bang-bang plays. You’d be surprised how many replays you look at and you thought they were wrong and they’re right.

I agree with Leyland that umpires are right a lot more than they are wrong and that they do make unbelievable calls on bang-bang plays. Unfortunately, all the times they get calls right are meaningless when they blow it on significant plays like this one, or the Joe Mauer ball in the playoffs. Umpires already do a good job but why not allow them the opportunity to correct their mistakes? What’s so bad about striving for perfection?

Umpire Jim Joyce’s Blown Call Improves Case for Instant Replay in MLB

Two years ago, I made the argument that baseball should join the 21st century and add instant replay after seeing a blown call during the Padres/Rockies playoff game. It took some time, but MLB finally decided to allow umpires the ability to review home runs. Unfortunately, Bud Selig refused to further integrate instant replay into the game. That poor decision altered history on Wednesday night when umpires were unable to review the blown call by Jim Joyce that ruined Armando Galarraga’s perfect game.

As we previously detailed, Joyce made a terrible call and cost Galarraga the perfect game. I understand the “human element” of the game and I think baseball should continue to have it. However, I like that umpires have the ability to review home runs and I would like them to have the ability to review more plays. To me, the best solution would be to give managers the option to throw a challenge flag much like NFL coaches. I would say give them two challenges per game (no need to completely slow down an already slow game) so that we can correct wrong calls.

NFL and NBA officials review plays using instant replay, NHL officials review goals, and tennis allows players to challenge calls. Why shouldn’t managers have the ability to do the same so that calls can be corrected?

Here’s a video of the blown call to ruin Armando Galarraga’s perfect game:

Baseball Needs Instant Replay

Sure it helps that ESPN has been brainwashing me with constant replays of every single questionable home run call over the past week, but hey, I’ve felt strongly about this subject for a long time. I’m not saying we should review pickoff plays, dropped third strikes, balk calls, whether or not a batter went around, and certainly not balls and strikes, but come on, when it comes to a call that changes a ballgame by anywhere from 1-4 runs, we need to get it right. This really came to my attention last year when I wrote about Rockies’ manager Clint Hurdle getting upset over some of the unfavorable calls his team had received. I thought about it then and feel even more strongly now that just to review whether or not a ball went out of the park, instant replay is a useful tool.

I just can’t even fathom why the unimaginative purists would want to keep the game free of instant replay. Why, will it slow a game played at Bengie Molina-like speeds by 150 seconds? Oooh, that’s just too much for us to handle. Big deal — the people in the crowd pop open their phones to blast off a few texts and catch up on some scores around the league on their blackberrys. What’s the problem? Isn’t it worth it to get it right when it’s something that significant? Moreover, all you need is two minutes reviewing a potential home run ball to get the call right. It’s not like in football where you can deliberate and still get a call wrong because of funny angles and stuff; this is pretty easy, if the ball clears the yard, it’s gone. Then again, I’m not really sure why I’m ranting to you about this — it’s probably the people who still haven’t warmed up to the idea of computers that are against instant replay in the game, anyhow.

Holliday Was Out; Baseball Needs Instant Replay

Though the Rockies season has been incredible, their celebration magnificent, and the momentum in their favor, they never actually won Monday night’s playoff game. Matt Holliday never touched home plate on his dive. In fact, Barrett successfully blocked the plate and tagged him out, producing what should have been an amazing double play. Not to say that the Padres would have gone on to win the game, but just saying there was a bad call. As I stated at FanHouse, baseball needs instant replay for those types of situations. When a playoff berth is at stake, the most precise call possible needs to be made — and usually that’s with the aid of video replay.

So sure, the Rockies had all the momentum and were torching Hoffman, but the game wasn’t over. At the same point, it should be noted that with instant replay, Garrett Atkins would have been awarded a home run in the 7th. A few thoughts on that: how poorly did Hurdle manage the situation by pinch-running for Atkins in the 7th when the game went 13 (even though Carroll delivered the game-winner)? If there’s instant replay, then Atkins does his home run trot an never gets pulled.

Also, Jake Peavy blew it once again in a Padre playoff game. He’s now 0-3 in three post-season starts which he’s lasted 18 innings, given up 29 hits, and 19 earned runs. He has not been clutch by any stretch of the imagination. And finally, props to Trevor Hoffman for speaking to reporters, accepting the blame, and acting classy in what was probably the lowest moment of his career. He should be commended for that.

(photo courtesy Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)