Argument: Enough controversial calls occur in baseball to justify replay

Issue Report: Instant replay in baseball


Don Hunsberger. “Let’s bring meaningful instant replay to baseball” Daily Commercial. June 6th, 2010: “If Joyce’s was the only error of its kind, there would be no controversy. Baseball’s ruling elite presumably would get to together and figure out a way to prevent it from happening again.

But the situation in Detroit did not occur in a vacuum. On Tuesday night in Toronto, the Tampa Bay Rays were rallying against the Toronto Blue Jays late in the game when third-base umpire Angel Hernandez ruled that Sean Rodriguez missed third base while scoring on a Ben Zobrist single.

The Jays appealed the play, leading to Hernandez’ call. Still, replays showed conclusively that Rodriguez had, in fact, touched the base.

“I didn’t want to jump at the bag and miss it,” he told the Associated Press after the game, “so I said ‘Let me slow down my steps real good and make sure I catch it (the base).'”

Fortunately for fairness, the Rays went on to win the game. But on Oct. 12, 2009, the Colorado Rockies weren’t so lucky.

Playing the Philadelphia Phillies in the NLDS, the Rocks watched helplessly as the Phillies Chase Utley was given credit for a base hit after the ball (according to post-game replay) actually hit him when he was still in the batter’s box. The play should’ve been ruled a foul ball.

No umpire saw the play clearly enough to make the call, however, and Philly’s Jimmy Rollins ended up scoring the winning run in a 6-5 postseason victory. Shown the replay after the game, home plate umpire Jerry Meals agreed that the ball had indeed hit Utley.

But while there’s no question that umpires do everything in their power to get the calls right, baseball happens at incredible speed — and no human being can call every play correctly.

“Instant replay is something we talk about every year,” Boston Red Sox General Manager Theo Epstein said after watching the play that cost Galarraga his perfecto. “You can certainly make a strong case for it. I’ll just say I’m sure it will be brought up again, and there will be even stronger voices in favor of it going forward.””