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From the sidelines: Replay not all it’s cracked up to be
Apr 30, 2014 | 1347 views | 0 0 comments | 7 7 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Shane Gillet
Shane Gillet

Typically when a change is made to a professional sport such as football or baseball, so-called “purists” are the first to chastise the sport for ‘getting away from the purest form of the game.’

Enter baseball’s newest replay system, which was expanded this year to almost all plays and includes a “challenge” system similar to football.

The system, meant only to fix errors and not be the end of all umpires as we know it, is running into a few kinks.

Some managers have been ejected for arguing a call that was replayed and overturned. Whether the correction itself was the right call is still to be determined, but it has once again drawn the ire of baseball fans who grew up watching the game on televisions so pixilated and cameras so out of focus that close plays really did look like ... well, close plays.

The high definition age of television and cameras still hasn’t done the trick, apparently, and so many sports as we know it are being changed because the general public has been convinced by the sports media that it will be for the betterment of the game.

Clipper associate editor Jenniffer Wardell once wrote a movie column about how childhoods of our generation are being ruined by Hollywood re-makes of animated shows. 

Her case in point was the release of “Peabody and Sherman,” a movie about a genius dog and his adopted human boy that is an adaptation of the show we both loved to watch as kids.

While she hasn’t Рand to some degree refuses toР seen the film, I enjoyed it for its new-aged look while still maintaining its reputation for bad, yet funny, puns.

Baseball’s new replay system isn’t perfect, but it isn’t making the game any better, and therefore is taking away from the human element of the game.

Fans are not happy about most decisions that are made, either in real time or in the replay. Managers are still getting thrown out for arguing a reviewed play, and even players have seen the “heave-ho” symbol that marks the end of their employment for the day.

However, the system in place is supposed to make baseball a more perfect game than it once was.

News flash: baseball isn’t meant to be perfect. 

The strike zone, for instance, is as arbitrary as it ever will be and seems to be the only thing umpires are fully able to control in today’s game. 

Jim Joyce’s definition of the strike zone is just as different as C.B. Bucknor’s. The two are arguably one of the best and worst umpires in baseball, respectively, but the point is it will always change. 

Close plays will always be argued and calls are going to be missed. Instant replay will only give people so much information.

My main point here is this: do we have to make so many changes to the game of baseball that it becomes a shell of its former self?

Replays started a whole new argument that will never end until the umpires are replaced by computers and cameras are placed at every base for any and all close plays.

In cases where a replay definitely would have overturned a call (the Jeter home run against Baltimore in the ALCS, the Jim Joyce call in Armando Gallaragha’s ‘im’perfect game) it would have solved everything.

When close calls continue to get players and managers ejected, it’s time to come up with a new way of thinking.

I’m not stating flat out that replay in baseball is or will be a bad thing; over the long haul it may be better for the game.

What I am saying is there needs to be a better way for the system to be implemented. Only then will the game be better for all fans, the casual and hard core alike. 


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