Posts Tagged ‘Johan Santana’

An Argument for Instant Replay

June 7, 2012

There is something to be said for the expanded use of instant replay in baseball. And nothing proves that more than umpire Adrian Johnson’s botched call to preserve a no-hitter for the Mets’ Johan Santana last weekend.

Call me nit-picky, but I take pride in the history of the greatest game in the world. And Johnson missed a call that is almost never missed. Only this time, it had a major effect on a game that will now go down in history as the first no-hitter in New York Mets history.

If I was a Mets fan, I’d celebrate the no-no. As a baseball fan, I applaud Santana for a fantastic effort, and for adding to an incredible personal comeback story. But it’s just like the home run chase in 1998, or Barry Bonds in 2001. It was worth celebrating, but there’s a guilty pain to knowing the record is tainted.

Again, no disrespect intended to Santana or Mets fans. He pitched one hell of a gem. But when a ball lands near the foul line and white dirt sprays up in the air, chances are it hit the foul line. For those of you who don’t know, that’s a fair ball. Please see my fancy, attached, stolen-from-Google diagram here:

Johnson could have taken a step forward after the call, looked at the divot in the dirt, and seen that it was clearly a fair ball. But he wouldn’t have been able to reverse it. And while there’s no point in arguing the call now (though Cardinals’ manager Mike Matheny and third base coach Jose Oquendo did their best), the question must still be begged: why not expand instant replay? This isn’t the first time a bad call has changed the course of baseball history.

I’m sure nobody has forgotten Philip Humber’s perfect game quite yet. Say what you want, but the last pitch of the game, a 3-2 check swing to Brendan Ryan, was a ball. See for yourself. And I hate to bring this up again, but the names Jim Joyce and Armando Galarraga can’t be mentioned in baseball circles without widespread shudders. Where Humber’s name is in the record books, it should read “Galarraga.”

Bad calls are a part of the game, but we’ve come to an era of technology that allows us to make changes in order to ensure the correct calls are made, especially in situations with historic ramifications.

I’m not asking for an umpire’s complete judgment to be exterminated from the sport. I don’t want machines taking over calling balls and strikes. But is it so much to ask that there’s a main official who reviews a play like that from the booth upstairs and radios it down? For a play such as the one in the Cardinals/Mets game, that whole process would take approximately five seconds.

Haters of this proposition may point out that you can’t stop a play in the middle of a base hit to have said reviews. That’s why the umpire would let the play roll, and send the hitter back if it turns out to be foul.

Either way, instant replay does need to be expanded. You may say “it was just one game.” But the reality is that every game, every play, every pitch and every call really does affect a season in the long run. Ask the 2011 Boston Red Sox and Atlanta Braves how much they wish they had won “just one more game.”

I know the issue is on the table for 2013, as it should be. I just sincerely hope that a blown call doesn’t wipe out a team’s chances in October. Because then the pro-replay mob won’t be asking so nicely for change.

Opening Day Predictions

April 4, 2012

Okay, okay. I know the A’s and Mariners played in Japan and the defending-champion Cardinals already defeated the Marlins at the new stadium earlier tonight. But a big slate of games is finally set for tomorrow, and I couldn’t be more excited. 

We’ve got seven games lined up for tomorrow, capped off with reigning Cy Young winner Clayton Kershaw and my Dodger squaring off against the Padres in San Diego. Without further adieu, here are my predictions for tomorrow’s games:

Boston Red Sox at Detroit Tigers: This is the first of the great pitching matchups we’ll see over the first weekend of play, but it might just be the best one. Jon Lester will take the hill against last year’s Cy Young and MVP winner, Justin Verlander. Normally, I’d expect a pitcher’s duel, but Lester is a notorious slow starter, so look for a big game from Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder and the Tigers to take the home opener 5-2. (Side note: Jose Valverde will get his 51st straight save, creeping slowly towards the record of 84)

Atlanta Braves at New York Mets: I like this pitching matchup for a number of different reasons. First of all, I really enjoy watching Tommy Hanson pitch. If he’s healthy for Atlanta this year, it’s going to be huge for their playoff aspirations. But the real story here is Johan Santana’s return to the hill after a multitude of injuries have crippled the former Cy Young winner. I’m going to take my first upset, but don’t expect the Mets’ winning streak to last long. Give me the Mets 3-2.

Philadelphia Phillies at Pittsburgh Pirates: Another former ace takes the hill on Opening Day, hoping to rebound. Erik Bedard won’t have as much success as Johan does in New York, although I do expect an above average season out of the lefty in 2012. Roy Halladay is going to be too much for the young Pirates offense, and the Phils take it on the road 5-0.

Washington Nationals at Chicago Cubs: Raise your hand if you’re as excited to see Stephen Strasburg on the mound tomorrow as I am! He takes on the re-tooled Cubs and Ryan Dempster at Wrigley. And I’m sorry Cubbie fans, but the curse will continue, starting with an ugly loss at the hands of the Nats. I’m going to enjoy watching Strasburg go 8 innings with 10 strikeouts in a 7-1 win.

Toronto Blue Jays at Cleveland Indians: This might be the most underrated pitching matchup of the day. If you like young, up-and-coming stars on the bump, this is the game for you. Ricky Romero is my dark horse candidate for A.L. Cy Young this year, and Justin Masterson for Cleveland isn’t far behind. I think this is going to be the best pitching duel of the day. Toronto takes it 1-0 on a late solo homer by Jose Bautista.

Miami Marlins at Cincinnati Reds: One of the Marlins’ big free agent acquisitions is opening this series, and Mark Buerhle can certainly be trusted to give a quality outing. Johnny Cueto gets the ball for Cincy and two very strong offenses will have their respective hands full. Give me the wily veteran for the new-look Marlins’ first win in a 4-3 game.

Los Angeles Dodgers at San Diego Padres: You know this is the one I’ve been waiting to talk about. You’ve gotta like the young lefty Kershaw to start defending his Cy Young title with a pretty dominant win at Petco Park. I think the Dodgers put up a five spot on Edinson Volquez early and chase him from the game. I want to give the Padres a pity run to sound unbiased, but they just aren’t a good enough team to score against Kershaw. Final score: 6-0 Dodgers.

That’s all folks! Call in sick tomorrow, ditch school, and watch MLB Network all day to see my picks put into motion. Happy baseball! Peace.


February 10, 2012

I’m going to make this short and sweet. Because I’m running late again. #Jam @Jam Jam is my name, blogging in no time’s my game. But the reason I’m doing it in a rush before work, rather than in the comfort of my parents’ house, is I was kept up late by the other cool kids vying for a spot in the MLB Fan Cave. I’m a novice Twit, so I was learning as I went, but damn it was fun.

I sat for hours last night on my phone, iPad, laptop…whatever I could get my hands on to make the Tweeting go faster. I dreamed of hash tags and twit pics. Only for six hours though, because before I knew it, the morning was upon me and I had to come here.

The Twonversations (Twitter-conversations) were epic, the Twaughs (getting it yet?) were fantastic, and I’ll never see Bronus -DAMN!- Honus Wagner in the same light. Nor Bro Mauer, Brose Cansecbro or Brohan Santana. My Dodger jersey is going to have to be altered; James Broney is a much more suitable surname.

Take a minute, and join in on what you missed. Follow me @jamblinman and while you’re at it, cast your vote for the best baseball movie ever made. Mine is the Natural. We had votes for the Sandlot, Major League, A League of Their Own, Field of Dreams…the list goes on.

All I know is that this #MLBFanCave thing is really fun, but absolutely killing me. I don’t want it to end. But I do. Because it’s stressful, and exciting and ruining my sleep pattern. It’s like two straight weeks of Christmas Eve, except only 50 people in the world get to anticipate the presents in the morning. While I’m usually humble, I’m damn proud to be apart of that group. If you’d make me one of the final 30 who show up to the tree in the morning, I would love you forever. Because God (and Santa) knows that I don’t want to stop tweeting and twaughing and twalking with these wicked rad finalists I’m competing against.

There goes my phone. Do I even check it? Or ignore…

@Tweet. #Duh.

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