After last nights 19-inning marathon between the Pirates and Braves ended in a disgraceful manner with home late umpire Jerry Meals calling Julio Lugo safe at the plate on a play that wasn’t remotely close.
There’s no excuse for blowing that call. I really can’t fathom how Meals could miss it. Has there ever been an easier call to make. It really doesn’t make any sense. But it happened so where do we go from here?
Well to instant replay of course.
Instant replay has been discussed in baseball quite a bit over the past few years and is now used for determining home run calls. But it can be expanded.
The system I propose is actually pretty simple. Challenges! Football has them. Tennis has them. They work great, don’t slow the game down much and prevent umpires/officials from determining the outcome of a game.
Give each manager one challenge per game. If he wins the challenge, he keeps it. If he loses it, then he’s done. They cannot be used for overturning strike/ball calls. They can be used for tag plays on the bases, trapping the ball, fair/foul line drives, close plays on the bases, etc.
Most games, managers won’t use them and there won’t be a difference. Every once in a while though, a manager can toss that red beanbag (I like beanbags over flags) onto the field. It’d add a slight bit more strategy (if there’s a close call in the second inning, do you risk using it and losing it?) and will entertain fans.
The umpires on the field can either leave briefly and check it out or a fifth umpire can sit upstairs in a replay booth and make the ruling himself. Or Bud Selig can set up a small group that sits in a room in the MLB Offices in New York and makes the calls for all games.
Any method would be quick, add a bit of entertainment and fix umpires’ mistakes.
Anyone have a reason why this isn’t a good idea?