If we have the video capability to determine whether or not a baseball is a home run or not, why doesn’t MLB use it? I’ve always been opposed to using instant replay in baseball, but it goes much further than taking out the human element or tradition from the game.
First, I will say this. I’ve loosened my stance a bit on the theory of using instant replays to tell if a batted ball is a home run. If the umpires have a hard time determining if a ball went over a line, hit a fair pole, cleared the wall, etc., yeah there is nothing wrong with giving a closer look, based on the fact that it is now nearly impossible for the naked eye to make those determinations in these goofy ballparks.
For example, I’ve always grown up believing that a batter can trot around the bases when he hits a ball that actually goes over a wall . Not like in Houston, where there is a train track on top of a 40 foot wall with a yellow horizontal and vertical line drawn in the middle of it. What is that? Hit the ball over the line or to the right of the line off the wall and it’s a home run. I say hit the ball over the tracks or run like crazy. You’ve already got the pop shot Crawford boxes 315 feet away; don’t help the batter anymore with a cheap home run.
Then, wasn’t there a home run that A-Rod hit at Yankee Stadium, where it was tough to tell whether the ball hit the yellow line or landed directly above the yellow line…where a yellow advertisement was painted? Hello! Can we maybe use a different color paint, instead of the exact same shade of home run line yellow?
Given those two examples, yes reviewing home runs could help. However, the thing I fear is that it won’t stop at home runs and the argument will then be made to not stop at home runs. If you’re only going to use instant replay on home runs, then what about the controversial hit down the line that appears to have kicked up white chalk, yet the ump called the ball foul? Or a close play at the plate, where the runner appears to get his hand under the tag. Once you open the flood gates of allowing replay on home runs, you then open up the next debate for the plays I mentioned below as well as any other close play that comes at a crucial time in any game.
That’s the issue I would have. Unless, MLB, the umpires union and the player’s union all agree that replays can only and will only be used for home runs, then they should never consider instant replay in baseball. I like what the NHL and NBA have done using replays for goals or baskets at the buzzer or toes on the three point line.
It’s gotten out of control in the NFL. Instant replay was originally argued as a good idea to see if players got their feet down in the end zone. That was the argument. "Let’s use replay on touchdown calls." Now it can be used to see where a punt go out of bounds and get this…to see if a ball actually clears the crossbar on a field goal!!! The officials in the NFL have been reduced to relying on video to help them make almost every close call.
Look, baseball is 162 games long, some calls go your way, other don’t, but in the end, the best teams rise to the top. I’ve never heard a manager say, "If we would have been given that home run in the 52 nd game of the season, we’d be in the playoffs."