Pick It: Shorter Games or Better Calls?

Today I love watching MLB games and knowing that the outcome is not going to be decided by a phantom-tag-of-second double play that cannot be challenged. Same goes for other calls like fair-foul, ground trap-glove catch, and which arrived as first at first – the fielder’s throw – or the runner’s foot?

The multi-camera angles, the HD picture quality, the ability to discern what actually happened on appeal are enough to silence almost all of the dissenting losers in these appellate decisions, barring the few Billy Martins and Earl Weavers who would still kick dirt on the shoes of God, were “He/She” the chief umpire for the day. Even the umpires get it. Technology is here to help them because they are human – and capable of human error. Technology is not there to criticize or condemn them for imperfection.

If you watch this first example in the linked YouTube video from different angles, the more you see that the Braves runner from third who is called safe at home on an infield throw to the catcher actually was tagged out a good two feet prior to reaching the plate. The run counts. And the home town Braves defeat the Pirates, 4-3.

In this game from an earlier season, there is no appeal. Bucs manager Clint Hurdle is practically apoplectic in rage over the call, but there is nothing to do but go home, with the winners even being among those who know they have been gifted, as will the home plate umpire quietly agree, once he gets to see the tape free of Hurdle’s hot breath on his neck.

All the umpire saw in real time was the runner evading the catcher. Even though the catcher was all over the runner like a controlling mother-in-law, the umpire simply could not see it. Maybe his mother-in-law had made the trip to Atlanta with him and his wife – and the umpire just needed to see somebody who was safe.

But seriously, folks….

Today I think this play could have been appealed and reversed, forcing the game to another inning of play in the search for a fair finish. As, indeed, it should be with any play in baseball that can be reversed, short of ball and strike calls. Even that one may meet up with its own laser technology someday. Or it may remain the one sweet area of totally human error risk in officiating. Protesting ball and strike calls on a runaway basis could ruin the game on several levels.

Besides (wink.wink), how could we play this game if we take away all of the umpires’ different strike zones. A laser call key that called them all the same would take away a manager’s ability to plan certain starters around their abilities to match the umpire’s usual strike zone.

Anyway, hope you enjoy these YouTube clips as much as we did.



Bill McCurdy

Principal Writer, Editor, Publisher

The Pecan Park Eagle


2 Responses to “Pick It: Shorter Games or Better Calls?”

  1. Cliff Blau Says:

    Even the runner thought he was out. The appeal process could be a lot quicker, too.

  2. stanfromtacoma Says:

    One day perhaps there will be no umpires. All calls made by robots with TV screens for eyes. That would not be something I would want.

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