Bud Selig will go down in history as one of the greatest commissioners in MLB history. Under his direction, baseball has grown immensely. It’s spread to every TV set in this country, to ballparks around the world, and most importantly, it’s increased revenues exponentially. In the end, he’ll always be remembered for the money, instead of players issues like steroids, the outspread drinking and driving, and complicated international issues with free agents.
In my opinion, his success in expanding the MLB stems from embracing technology. Where most sports fans find it hard to watch their favorite football team out of market to this very day, the MLB has delivered these services via cable and the internet for over a decade now. With the way baseball behaved under the advent of the technology boom, you’d think he’d embrace instant replay to fix blown calls.
Well the call for instant replay seems to be growing, perhaps because fans are more often viewing how unreliable the human element actually is. Where fans across the world can watch the results of a close play in the matter of seconds, umpires at the very games they’re officiating aren’t equipped with this incite.
Bud Selig doesn’t think anyone wants instant replay, however I don’t know a single fan that’s against it. Putting an extra umpire in a booth at a stadium not only helps get calls right in seconds, but it employees more umpires, it promotes the umpires safety from fan backlash, and it also helps keeps fans happy and watching the game. There is a thought that maybe fans might change the channel while the field umpires wait for a decision from a booth umpire, but I’d argue that more fans have turned off the TV and stopped coming to ballpark because of the recent blown calls. In fact, I find that during replay for homeruns, which take much longer without a booth umpire, people are more glued to their seats than ever.
So to get your blood running, I’ve collected the six biggest blown calls this postseason that should have easily been overturned by instant replay.
NLCS Game 2
Here 1B umpire Bill Miller calls Gregor Blanco safe while trying to tag back up at first base on a caught flyball. The umpire simply missed the tag, which would have resulted in a 2 out no one on situation, however the Giants would go on to score two additional runs in this 8th inning.
ALCS Game 2
Being Yankee fans, we’re familiar with this Jeff Nelson call on Omar Infante retreating back to second base. Nelson calls the base runner safe on this play, despite what should have been the third out, and it ends up leading to two additional runs for the Tigers, in a 3-0 Yankee loss.
ALCS Game 1
Another blown call against the Yankees here, but this time it had a bigger impact on the final score, assuming you believe in the predetermined outcome. It was only the second inning, but with the bases loaded and two out, Robinson Cano hit a come-backer off the pitcher. Here you’ll see that he beats out the force play by around 3-4 frames, but 1B umpire Rob Drake calls him out, which not only takes a run off the board for the Yankees, but also prevents them from another at bat with the bases loaded. The game would end up going into extra innings, so one run would have given the Yankees a win.
NLDS Game 3
Granted, the score was 4-0 at the time, and the Nationals didn’t score a single run in this game, but this is a blatant missed call that may have prevented a rally. 1B umpire Jim Joyce calls Danny Espinosa out with one man on and no out in a situation where he was about a half a step safe. I always give Jim Joyce credit for owning up to his biggest blown call in the Armando Galarraga perfect game, but he seems to miss a lot of these close calls.
NL Wild Card Game
This was the most disgusting blown call so far. Thanks to the new playoff system, the one game wildcard has huge implications for both teams, and in this game LF umpire Sam Holbrook called the infield fly rule on a flyball the landed in front of the the left fielder. By the rules, it can only be called when a fielder makes an ordinary effort to catch the ball, but the location of where it fell is far off from where the shortstop and left fielder were positioned. Without the call, it would have been a huge bases loaded situation, and Braves fans nearly rioted after the call was made, leaving the field covered in trash while the game was still in progress. The Braves would go on to lose this game.
The announcers said Atlanta fans should be embarrassed for how they acted after the blown call, but I think it’s about time. It’s Bud Selig who should be embarrassed for the state of the game when nearly 6 fixable blown calls have already interfered with 6 different playoff games. What fan wants to pay hundreds of dollars to go to a game to watch their team lose because of a blown call?
And as Yankee fans, this ALCS series could be a lot different if the umpires had instant replay on their side. You can’t blame the umpires for being human and making mistakes, but you can blame Bud Selig for ignoring the fans, the players, and likely the umpires. They could have and should have implemented it in the 2012 season, but hey, at least we got this wonderful new playoff schedule.
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