Thursday, May 9, 2013
Blown call helps, but MLB needs replay ump
By Richard Durrett
I'm sure by now you've seen the home run that was not called a home run in Cleveland in the ninth inning Wednesday night. Instead of a double for Adam Rosales, it should have been a homer that tied the score for the Oakland A's. But after replay, which showed that it was a homer, the umpires still got it wrong and the Indians hung on for a 4-3 win.
That loss, coupled with the Rangers' win, means the A's lost a game in the AL West race, falling 3½ games back in the division. It's the largest lead in any division. And if you don't think one game in May is a big deal, let me remind you that the Rangers needed just one of those games last season to win the West.
ESPN.com's Buster Olney thinks MLB should step in, make it a homer and have the two teams play it out from that point. But this brings up the bigger issue: Why isn't someone sitting in a booth -- just like in college football -- looking at every angle on the best HD television available and making that call? Why have the umpires trot off the field and try to figure it out underneath the stadium, something that takes longer?
ESPN.com's Jayson Stark reported before the season that expanded replay is possible for 2014 and that MLB officials are talking about a replay umpire who can do exactly that. I sure hope so. It's one thing for an umpire to miss a call that isn't reviewable (and maybe that will decrease next year if they'll let some plays on the bases be reviewed), but it's quite another when every TV angle a fan sees shows the ball is a homer and the umpires review it and still screw it up.
The decision Wednesday night was good for the Rangers but bad for baseball. And it's something that can be fixed. No, I'm not for replays on balls and strikes. An umpire who can see that ball crossing the plate should make that call. But reviewing the key plays on the bases, along with fair and foul balls, is certainly needed. Perhaps you give each manager one challenge per game (and they get another if they get that challenge right) and then in the eighth or ninth inning (not unlike football), it goes to the booth automatically. Just a thought.
How much replay do you want to see in baseball? Do you think baseball needs a replay umpire in a booth?