Thursday, October 4, 2007

Replay It! (So I can have my heart broken in slo-mo)

I'm not sure why so many people are up in arms about the end of the Rockies/Padres game on Monday. Sports talk radio (especially sports talk radio here in Southern California) was abuzz about how this game was proof that baseball needs instant replay just like football and basketball.

Except it's not proof at all.

This wasn't a game lost because of the lack of replay like the Jets/Seahawks 9 years ago when Vinny Testeverde was awarded a touchdown even though replays showed the ball was a good 6 inches short of the goal line. And it wasn't like the Rams/Bucs playoff game a couple years later when a Bert Emanuel catch was overturned because technically the ball had touched the ground even though Emanuel appeared to have it in his control. These were plays that justifiably led to the instatement of replay and the tweaking of the rules.

Monday night's game, however, would not have been changed by replay. Neither controversial call in the game (Colorado's maybe-home-run and Matt Holiday's swipe-or-no-swipe of home plate) would have been overturned had replay been used in that game. Both were too close to call, with no visual evidence that the ball did or didn't clear the fence and no clear evidence that Holiday did or didn't tag. And lest this sound like a pro-Colorado stance, I'll state the had Holiday been called out there is no way the call would have been overturned. It would have ended much the way the UConn/Temple football game ended earlier this season where Temple appeared to score a go-ahead touchdown in the waning seconds of the game, but the call was out of bounds and there was no visual evidence to overturn it other than some body-language cues that he probably did catch the ball.

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