Just Say No To Instant Replay

November 11, 2009 – 1:46 pm

Looks like the GMs aren’t going to expand the use of instant replay in baseball, in spite of all the questionable calls that happened in the playoffs. And I agree with them, although I suspect I’m in a minority here. As I’ve said before, I’ve never liked instant replay in the NFL — and now that baseball season is over, and I’m watching more football, it seems to me that instant replay in football has just gotten worse and worse. If it were being used to simply overturn the very obviously wrong calls, then it makes some sense. But that’s not the way it’s been implemented — calls that are clearly close and could have gone either way are being reviewed, and that’s nonsense. If you know anything about basic photography you know how distorted and misleading a video replay can be. First off you have the affects of the zoom lens, which in turn are compounded by the angle that the camera is at. And there’s also the problem that the video only shows two dimensions, whereas the official making the call sees things in real life three dimensions. All things considered, the official is typically in a lot better position to make a call than the camera is in, he’s a lot closer, and he has the advantage of depth perception. How many times do you see an instant replay in a football game where all the announcers in the booth disagree over what the replay is showing? Isn’t that evidence enough of how flawed the procedure is? So unless a call on the field is absolutely without a doubt wrong, it should never be overturned. And how many times do you see calls that are that bad? And of those bad calls, how many actually have an impact on the final outcome of the game? It’s just not worth it to disrupt the ebb and flow of the game time and time again, in order to “fix” a problem that happens maybe once or twice a season.

This whole area is one big slippery slope that’s just not worth going down. Close calls and “bad” calls by an umpire are just a part of the game — no different than a pitcher hanging a curve ball or a fielder dropping a routine fly ball. Umpire errors are as much a part of the game as player errors are. Leave it alone.

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