Two Wrongs Don't Make a Right, But Three Lefts Do

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Hey, wasn't that 3-1 Yankees victory over the visiting Phillies a well-played, close World Series game? Well, mostly. It was on the verge of being memorable for all the wrong reasons, as two massive umpiring mistakes led to two rallies being killed last night, one for each team. In the bottom of the seventh, first base umpire Brian Gorman incorrectly ruled that Ryan Howard snagged a short-hopped liner which led to an inning-ending double play for the Yankees. The very next half inning, Gorman missed a much closer call by ruling Chase Utley out at first in yet another inning-ending double play.

Yankees fans who felt slighted by the first oopsie might have felt as if the second mistake canceled the first one out. After all, had Gorman made the correct call on both plays, the Yankees might have won 7-5 instead of 3-1. But who knows, really? That's the fallacy of the predetermined outcome playing games with your head, and I don't mean Hungry Hungry Hippos. The two mistakes cannot be merged together to form a morally valid right no matter how much you explain it away. Simply put, we'd be far better off without either bad calls being made.

Folks, I still don't think we need robot umpires in baseball, at least in the same capacity that automation patrols the game of tennis. Tennis courts are all the same dimension and the technology can be ported easily from arena to arena. Each baseball field, however, is wildly and vastly different. Even the New Yankee Stadium, meant to have the exact same dimensions as the old joint, is different in many places along the outfield wall.

Nope, robot umpires will never be the answer in baseball. Instead, we need to appoint a video umpire who would be isolated in a dark room with multiple television monitors, a communication device for relaying the correct calls to the crew chief, and a mason jar to urinate in. This solution makes everyone happy: baseball fans get their instant replay, the umpire union gets 30 new jobs, and the players won't have to suffer through a long delay while the on-field umps huddle up and chit-chat about umpire-y things.

It's a shame that these bad calls are even part of the conversation the day after the two teams put their best out on the field. Pedro Martinez and A.J. Burnett both displayed excellent ability to locate their pitches and change up speeds, Joe Girardi was partially vindicated for his lineup changes as Jose Molina picked off a runner at first and Jerry Hairston collected a seventh-inning single that led to a run, and Derek Jeter showed everyone just how Jeter-y he was when he killed a rally by striking out on a bunt attempt on an 0-2 count. At least the umps got that call correct.


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5 Comments

Good to see that A-rod has returned to postseason form.

This solution makes everyone happy: baseball fans get their instant replay, the umpire union gets 30 new jobs, and the players won't have to suffer through a long delay while the on-field umps huddle up and chit-chat about umpire-y things.

And those fat cats in the Mason Jar lobby will love the spike in sales

A challenge system would be great, can you imagine the overmanagin' potential?

Word is, the NL is planning to use Mason jars and the AL is going to use Ball jars. Winner of the Taco Bell All-Star Legends & Celebrity Softball Game determines which jar brand is used in the World Series...

THIS TIME IT COUNTS!!!!!

(Also, the jar used during particularly memorable games and/or when they serve asparagus au gratin in the pre-game spread will be canned and sent to Cooperstown.)

Instant replay would be impractical on many plays. Take the liner to Howard. If it had been ruled no catch, the play would have proceeded differently (they would have gone for the force at second and a potential double play). What would you propose doing on that play? Certainly you can't just call both runners safe, since if the call had been the opposite they would have easily had one out, maybe two.

As in football, I think some plays simply wouldn't be reviewable, since there would be no way to fix what came later.

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