With all the blown calls in the Major League Baseball postseason this year, the league should expand its use of replay to improve the quality of the game.
Currently, the MLB only uses replay for “boundary calls,” which are calls that focus on whether or not a home run had gone over the fence or whether a home run was fair of foul. This new rule was only introduced to the game in August 2008 after a plethora of missed home run calls that season. Baseball is the only sport that seems to be resistant to using replay to get the call right.
Many “baseball purists,” including MLB Commissioner Bud Selig, argue that overuse of replay could delay the game too much. These people also argue that human error is part of the mystique of the American pastime. First of all, most baseball games are about two and a half to three hours long, which does not include postseason games which are more than three hours long because of the elongated commercial breaks between half innings. Taking two to three minutes more per game to get the calls right seems to be fair addition to the rule book to keep the integrity of baseball intact.
Human error should not be an integral part of baseball now that there is the technology to assist the umpires in making the correct call. The MLB should use the modern technology available to them to make to outcome of the game be based on teams’ performances, not a blown call by an umpire.
I am not saying that baseball should be officiated by robots, certainly ball and strike calls cannot be reviewed by replay because those calls are subjective to the interpretation of the umpire. However, calls on the bases and whether or not a ball is caught are certainly areas where replay could help the umpires and managers a great deal. For instance, in Game Four of the American League Championship Series this postseason, New York Yankees catcher Jorge Posada and second baseman Robinson Cano were both near third base, but they were both clearly off the bag. Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim catcher Mike Napoli tagged them both, and they should have both been called out. Instead, third base umpire Tim McClelland mistakenly called Posada safe and Cano out. On several replays that followed it was clear that both Posada and Cano were out, yet McClelland blew the call. Replay could have been used to help McClelland make the correct call, but that option was not available to him.
I hope the MLB will change its stubborn ways before a blown call affects the outcome of a World Series.
Chris Varano is a freshman film, television and digital media major from Suffern, N.Y.