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Thursday, June 3, 2010

Armando Gallaraga's Perfecto That Wasn't, and Why the 'Human Element' is Total B.S.

Posted By on Thu, Jun 3, 2010 at 2:39 PM

click to enlarge Clearly, things like this are just part of the fun.
  • Clearly, things like this are just part of the fun.
So by now we've all seen the video, and heard the comments from all parties involved. We've heard from Jim Joyce, and Tigers' manager Jim Leyland, and Armando Gallaraga himself, the man who was robbed of the perfect game himself. 

We've even heard from Don Denkinger, the author of one of the other most famous blown calls in baseball history, who said, "Maybe instant replay can clean things up. If a play is missed, it can be corrected. I didn't feel that way in '85, but I feel that way now." 

Here's how I look at it: baseball has done the umpires a grave disservice by fighting instant replay all along. We constantly hear from Bud Selig and plenty of other old-school types in the game about the "human element," by which they seem to mean they like it when calls are wrong and there's no way to go about fixing it. This isn't about maintaining the integrity of the game, and it isn't about instant replay sloooowwwwwing games down to a crawl. The integrity of the game can only be helped by ensuring the decisions rendered on the field are, in fact, correct ones, and the three extra minutes added to the games is a small price to pay for that accuracy. 

But still there is resistance to the idea of expanding replay to get the plays right. The people most hurt by this stubborn foolishness aren't the players, though, nor the fans. No, the people who should really be up in arms to get replay put in place are the umpires

Look, umpires have tough jobs. They do. They have to determine, about 250 times a game, whether or not an object moving at 90 mph (and not in a straight line, either), crossed on one side or the other of an imaginary line. They have to make judgement calls on the bases about events which took less than half a second to occur, and then bear the wrath of the players and coaches and fans when they get it wrong. (An often when they get it right, too.) Make no mistake, umpires have very difficult, stressful jobs.

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