Posts Tagged ‘no-hitter’

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.

Wednesday Top Ten!

March 7, 2012

Like how I throw that title up there as if this is a regular thing? I’m not going to lie…it’s because I’m wholly unmotivated to be creative today. Instead, I’ll just blow you away with insight and analysis. So ladies and gentlemen, put on your best snuggies and let’s get rollin’.

Today’s top ten will be all about baseball. Because it’s the best sport. Feel free to argue with me on that point, just don’t complain when this happens. You’ve been warned.

I want to discuss the ten best pitchers in baseball. There’s a helluva lot of them. The San Francisco Giants and Philadelphia Phillies could probably make a top ten list by themselves. But we’re going to do it anyway. I’m feelin’ crazy. By the way, I’m a Dodgers fan. So you can guess who number one will be. Muahaha!

10. Dan Haren, Los Angeles Angels – Oh boy that rotation in Anaheim is going to be scary in 2012, ain’t it? Haren is the best of the bunch, and the first pitcher on the list who doesn’t have a Cy Young to his name. He should, he could and he might before his time is done, but time will tell. Six seasons of 14 + wins ain’t too shabby though.

9. Chris Carpenter, St. Louis Cardinals – Okay, really? If Carp is ninth on this list, you know it’s gonna rock your socks off. This big righty has dominated for the Cards and has two rings and a shiny Cy Young (2005) to show for it. He’s got one of the best curveballs in the game and is possibly the most dominant postseason pitcher on this entire list.

8. Felix Hernandez, Seattle Mariners – It’s tough to NOT feel bad for King Felix. Stuck on the Mariners his whole career, he hasn’t racked up huge numbers. Just imagine what the 2010 Cy Young winner’s numbers would look like on a team that could actually score runs.

7. Tim Lincecum, San Francisco Giants – How can a two-time Cy Young winner (2008-2009) only be eighth on this list? Easy – he’s on the Giants and he went to University of Washington and I’m a spiteful, Dodger and Washington State-lovin’ bastard. So that says something that I felt compelled to still include The Freak on this list at all.

6. Cole Hamels, Philadelphia Phillies – Hamels is the first of a trio of Phillies to appear on my list (how is that even fair?) and the second who doesn’t have a Cy to his name. Yet. He’s still got plenty of time. What Hamels does have is a mean fastball, some filthy control and a World Series MVP. Not too shabby.

5. Cliff Lee, Philadelphia Phillies – Hamels’ southpawtner in crime DOES have that Cy Young award (2008) but less postseason success. Lee dominated last year, going a cool 17-8 with a 2.40 ERA for Philly. And his awesome birth name (Clifton Phifer Lee) boosted him at least three spots alone.

4. C.C. Sabathia, New York Yankees – The lefties just keep on comin’. I have a special appreciation for Sabathia, because he hails from the Bay Area like me. That’s not the end of our similarities though. I’m ALSO a 6’7″, 290-pound black man with a Cy Young (2007) and World Series ring…By the way, C.C. has 176 wins at age 31. Don’t tell me 300 isn’t viable for him.

3. Roy Halladay, Philadelphia Phillies – Finally, the Philadelphia onslaught comes to a merciful end. But there is no doubt in my mind that Doc Halladay is the best of the bunch. The 8-time all-star and 2-time Cy Young winner (2003 and 2010) has been so dominant for so long that it’s just a foregone conclusion he’ll put up 15+ wins every season. Oh, did I mention that no-hitter in the playoffs? That’s impressive I guess.

2. Justin Verlander, Detroit Tigers – Last year’s Cy Young and MVP winner in the American League has finally reached the height of his potential. And I don’t think he’s planning on regressing anytime soon. Verlander’s 24-5, 2.40, 250 strikeout 2011 was far and away one of the best individual pitching seasons I’ve ever seen. And the scary thing is he’s only 28.

1. Clayton Kershaw, Los Angeles Dodgers – You want to talk about incredible seasons at a young age? How about the next coming of Sandy Koufax (I think I just heard you gasp from here…)? Kershaw cruised to the pitching Triple Crown in the National League last year, and won the Cy Young as a result. Here’s the thing though. Kershaw is 23 years old. Like, my age. What the HELL!

That’s my list. Thanks for helping me kill time. Comment below and tell me why I’m absolutely right-on with all my picks. Or if you must, disagree and make suggestions. I’ll probably ignore you, but hey, it’s worth a shot!

And I ammmmmmm outta here!

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