Posts Tagged ‘New York Mets’

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.

1st-Place Teams So Far

April 20, 2012

Well, folks…we’re 13 games into the 2012 regular season. If you didn’t notice, some crazy things are happening. For example, the Orioles are doing it again – leading the AL East early. And there’s anarchy in L.A. – The Dodgers are in first by three games and the Angels…well, the Angels are paying Albert Pujols nine figures; one for each loss.

There are six divisions, so six first place teams, so six things for me to talk about:

AL East:

Really? The Baltimore Orioles? One of four teams I figured would have a legitimate shot at losing 95 games this year?

I know what you’re thinking. Is it for real? Well, put simply, no. Expect this division to be flipped by next month. It’s just one of those random hot streaks paired with some poor play by division favorites. Four of the five teams are within 1.5 games already, and the Red Sox being in dead last will change soon.

The A.L. East will still finish Yankees, Red Sox, Rays, Blue Jays, Orioles.

AL Central:

Detroit Tigers…obviously, bro. They haven’t disappointed, coming out of the gates hot and laying the smack down on the Red Sox to open the season.

One team I’m disappointed with so far is the Kansas City Royals. I am very bromantic about guys like Billy Butler, Eric Hosmer and Luke Hochevar. I’m not too worried about the Royals climbing back into contention, but will it be too late?

The Tigers are leading the Central and that won’t change anytime soon. The order will be: Tigers, Royals, Indians, Twins, White Sox.

AL West:

The Rangers are 11-2, have a 4.5 game lead in the division and the best record in baseball. Where have we seen this story before? Texas might be even better than the last two seasons. That’s terrifying.

The A’s and Mariners are both 7-7 and have played each other about 14 times in 2012. Or so it seems. How about the poor A’s having to face Felix Hernandez THRICE already? Ouch. Am I worried about the Angels? No, but thanks for asking. Let them figure it out and talk to me in a month when they are alone in second place, hot on the Rangers trail.

Despite how incredible Bartolo Colon is, the A’s are still a last-place team. They could lose 100 games. So, the division order will still be Angels, Rangers, Mariners, A’s.

NL East:

Told ya so, told ya so, told ya so, told ya so, told ya so, told ya so, told ya so, told ya so, told ya so, told ya so, TOLD YA SO. Suck it. The Nationals are in first place with a 10-4 record. And Mike Morse hasn’t even played one game yet.

You have to love seeing the Phillies in last place, a game under .500, despite the ridiculous pitching staff. They are really hurting for offense. When are Ryan Howard and Chase Utley coming back again? The Braves have bounced back impressively from an opening weekend sweep at the hands of the Mets. Speaking of the other New York team, they have started to fall back down to Earth a little bit.

Expect the result to stick: Nationals in first, then Philly, Miami, Atlanta, and New York.

NL Central:

Isn’t it cliche these days to say the Cardinals are in first? Well the word “cliche” makes me feel fancy. And I like that. So, the Cardinals are in first. Again.

They have a three-game lead and have by far looked like the most complete team in the division. I still think it’s going to be Cincinnati at the end, but the more I see Milwaukee and Pittsburgh play, the less impressed I’ve been. Ryan Braun just went 0-12 with a ton of strikeouts in three games against the Dodgers. But one guy who IS having success if Carlos Beltran in St. Louis. He has five more home runs than Albert Pujols in L.A. Oh, and Beltran has five homers total. Sooo…do the math.

This division will eventually be: Reds, Cardinals, Brewers, Pirates, Cubs, Astros

NL West:

*Coughs*. *Makes throat sounds suggesting “hey look at this”*. *Winks*. Allllll that nonsense can only mean one thing. My Los Angeles Dodgers are sitting pretty atop the NL West. And it feels so good.

Is it real? Well, biases aside…this is one of the greatest rosters ever assembled in any sport in the history of the universe. And yes, they can continue this success into the postseason. It’s not just Matt Kemp and Clayton Kershaw this season. In fact, Kershaw hasn’t even gotten warmed up yet. But Andre Ethier is raking, Juan Rivera is driving in runs like nobody’s business, and the rest of the rotation has done wonders. Oh, right. There are four other teams in the West. But…whatever.

The only division I’ll change my order in: Diamondbacks, Dodgers, Giants, Rockies, Padres

Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter @Jamblinman!

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