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Gardenhire's lousy idea

7/22/2009

If I could post just one blog entry per week -- and wouldn't that be one fantastic blog! -- I would have blogged this week about this:

    Ron Gardenhire has what he considers the perfect plan for reviewing close calls in baseball: red flags that managers throw like in the NFL. Minnesota's manager certainly would have tossed one Monday night, when Michael Cuddyer was called out on a close play at the plate in the ninth inning for what would have been the tying run in a crazy 14-13 loss in which the Oakland Athletics rallied from a 12-2 deficit.
    Cuddyer appeared safe on replay -- and he and Gardenhire both argued emphatically.

    "I've said it all along, I want a red flag," Gardenhire said Tuesday. "If you use it and you're wrong, you don't get the red flag the rest of the game. But if you use it and you're right, you get your red flag back. ... Last night would have been a great red flag game. I could have thrown it out there and then they could have run and checked the replay. It would have been perfect.

    "Football has a red flag. Why can't we? Keep it in my sock like they do."

I said this last year and I'll say it today: Greater use of replay by umpires is inevitable. The only question is when. Amidst all the controversy about the introduction of replay last year, it seemed obvious to me that the new system would work, and that it would quickly become accepted by the vast majority of fans and baseball people.
Which is exactly what's happened.

Today, nobody will accept an incorrect call on a "boundary play" (which is what Major League Baseball calls a batted ball that should have been ruled a home run but wasn't, or one that shouldn't have been ruled a home run but was). Will it really be that long before nobody wants to accept an obviously incorrect call on a play at the plate in a close game? I mean, really?

There will, of course, always be a few "traditionalists" -- some of them are my friends -- who want baseball to be exactly what it was in the 1990s, but fortunately that's not going to happen. Baseball will move forward and get more calls right and thus come closer to fully rewarding the teams that actually, you know, play better. It's not about "losing the human element" (and leapin' lizards, I would love to never hear that phrase again). Rather, it's about enhancing the player element. Which seems to me a good thing.

Anyway, I don't want to start any arguments today. It'll happen when it happens, and then we can dance that dance again. Today, I want to throw a wet blanket on Ron Gardenhire's recommendation that baseball be football-ized.

Umm, please can we not do that? When I'm watching a baseball game, I don't want to be reminded of any other sport. Let alone football, which is antithetical to baseball in so many ways.

Just to review ...

Replay: Good.
Red flags: Bad. Really, really bad.

When everyone's ready, we'll come up with something better.