Flaws in MLB’s replay system were evident in two recent games on just one day, leaving us to wonder if it’s time for instant replay to go?
For some reason, MLB continues to execute – very poorly – an instant replay system that simply doesn’t work. Not only are plays that can be replayed limited, when evidence to overturn seems clear, often the wrong call is supported either by an anonymous staff of video officials in New York or a team of old school, union-tenured umpires on the field.
The system needs to be eliminated. It simply doesn’t work.
Two cases in point took place on July 29. During the day, the Oakland A’s were down 2-1 to the Colorado Rockies in the bottom of the fourth with two out and runners at second and third. Stephen Piscotty hit a bouncer to Rockies third baseman Nolan Arenado who, for some reason, threw home instead of going to first for the final out. Runner Matt Olson, running hard, slid into home and was called out.
One problem. Olson was safe.
After a long delay and despite different replay angles proving Olson safe, the out call was upheld in New York. Olson’s run would have tied the score and could have changed the complexion of the game.
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That evening, with no out and the bases loaded in the bottom of the seventh, Cincinnati’s Shogo Akiyama’s hit a drive toward the Cubs Kris Bryant who gloved it, stepped on third and threw to first to double off the runners. Three outs on one play.
One problem. It should have been two outs with a run scored. The ball bounced on the dirt before it was grabbed by Bryant.
But the play stood because an illogical rule states that an infield catch can’t be reviewed, but an outfield catch can. What? With the 5-3 scoring sequence, the Cubs, ultimately 12-7 losers to the Reds, had their first triple play in 23 years on the books.
MLB has bigger issues to worry about in 2020. But they were the last of the four major professional leagues to make instant replay part of the decision-making process and they have never seemed to get it right.
The NFL struggles with replay, but the sport is so fast-paced and has so many judgment calls that the unanimous consent of a call is impossible to achieve. But it works well in the NBA and NHL.
Replay works brilliantly in tennis, soccer, and golf and often can be a game-changer. For a league so concerned with the pace of play, the replay challenge slows the game down. Since the institution of replay in 2008, the average length of a baseball game has increased by 15 minutes.
MLB needs to get rid of instant replay. And there is no need to review that call. They would probably get it wrong anyway.