That's San Fran catcher Buster Posey stealing second base in the fourth inning of last night's Giants-Braves tilt. Posey would come around to score the only run of the game and the Giants would prevail behind the super-dominant pitching styles of Tim Lincecum. Tidy, right? Too bad Posey should have been called out.
Replays on TBS showed, without a shadow of a doubt, that Braves second baseman Brooks Conrad applied a tag before Posey's foot touched the bag, yet the umpire called him safe. Announcers Dick Stockton and Bob Brenly, however, did not say a damn thing about the botched call and missed a huge opportunity to visit the popular talking point of instant replay.
We've asked for it before. On more than one occasion. We've spelled out solutions that would work. The time has come to institute expanded instant replay in baseball. At the very least, put it in the gosh darn playoffs when the casual fan watches more frequently.
And don't blame second base umpire Paul Emmel for the botched call. He saw the play safe and he called it safe; he has no ulterior motives. He blew the call because he's only human, after all. And the human element is important to keep in baseball because human beings make quick decisions and they have the judgment and ability to keep order on the field. We only need expanded instant replay just to correct the 0.01% of the umpires, folks who are highly-trained and experienced but still just bags of bones and guts. They're not machines, they just need machines to help them out every now and then.
In Wednesday night's Yankees-Twins game, the umps botched a call in th ninth inning that, unlike the Posey stolen base, had no impact on the final outcome of the game. But both botched calls are equivalent in one important way: they could have been overturned easily and quickly by having an umpire sitting in a dark room with nine monitors radio down to the crew chief. That's it. No manager challenges. No game delays. Just one guy, watching TV like the rest of us schmucks who can flip calls INSTANTLY. Yes, INSTANT replay. Not the NFL system of five-minute commercial breaks and kabuki theater. Just a lightning-quick correction that will ease the minds of fans of fairness everywhere.
The players don't want instant replay expanded; instead, they want these super-human umpires to somehow become more super-human and accomplish the impossible-to-reach 0% error rate. Bud Selig doesn't want instant replay expanded, either, so that means the majority of the ownership cabal doesn't want it. You know who wants it? The paying customers. The fans. The television audience. You and me (and Joe Girardi, too! Now if we only had a way to express our outrage in a written medium...