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article imageOp-Ed: Why Major League Baseball needs instant replay

By Luke Vermeer     Jul 27, 2011 in Sports
The Atlanta Braves defeated the Pittsburgh Pirates 4-3 last night on the latest in a long, long line of controversial calls.
With one out in the bottom of the 19th inning the Pirates and Braves were tied at three and the Braves had runners at second and third with Scott Proctor at the dish. Watch the video below to see what happens next.
For those without video capabilities, Proctor hit a slow grounder towards third which was fielded by Pirates third baseman Pedro Alvarez. Alvarez threw a strike to catcher Michael McKenry who applied the tag to Braves runner Julio Lugo before Lugo could touch home. To the folks watching on TV it was a clear out, but to umpire Jerry Meals, McKenry missed the tag allowing Lugo to score.
This is just the latest in a long line of umpire mistakes that could have been solved easily by having instant replay implemented into every facet of baseball.
The most famous (or infamous) moment in recent memory was the blown call by umpire Jim Joyce preventing Detroit Tigers pitcher Armando Galarraga from recording a perfect game. Video is below.
From this incident and the incident above it should be more than clear that instant replay, if not completely necessary, would at least be recommended.
Usually it takes an incident of large magnitude to force major league baseball, or any sports for that matter, to change. Considering that there are 20 pitchers in the entire history of baseball to throw a perfect game the fact that an easily reversible call prevented one from occurring, prevented a pitcher from living forever in the record books, should be enough to evoke a change in the rules.
One argument that has always been used by baseball is that the game has survived without replay for this long and it will continue to survive. While a truthful argument the fact remains that umpire mistakes are far more visible than they have ever been. In the era of high definition television and 24 hour sports TV there is a constant camera on every part of a baseball game. Back in the 50s or 60s an umpire could miss a call and people at the stadium, or the players and managers would be angry about it but that was it. Nobody would see it on TV and there wouldn't be instant replay from a plethora of angles. In a time where other leagues like the NHL and NFL have welcomed replay with open arms Major League Baseball has been positively old-fashioned in their refusal to move forward with technology.
The missed call from the Braves-Pirates game was bad, and people will moan about it for weeks, maybe even months, but in time it will be forgotten. But even when it's forgotten there will be another incident and the debate will continue anew. Until the MLB changes it's ways or is dragged into the modern age kicking and screaming we will continue to see more incidents like last night.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of DigitalJournal.com
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