Major League Baseball’s umpiring continues to solidify the argument for expanded replay for those who have spent years calling for its implementation.
Last night during Game 1 of the World Series, umpire Dana DeMuth ruled Boston Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia out after St. Louis Cardinals second baseman Pete Kozma clearly failed to catch a ball that was thrown to him. Had Kozma fielded the catch cleanly, Pedroia would’ve been out easily. However, the ball tipped off Kozma’s glove and rolled away from him. DeMuth promptly ruled Pedroia out, to the simultaneous shock of many. However, given the track records of umpires and their propensity to get calls wrong on an all-too-common basis, we’re willing to be that there were plenty of veteran baseball fans who surely were muttering something to the effect of “yeap, I’ve seen this before.” After all, who can forget when Armando Galarraga was robbed of a perfect game back in 2010.
To the relief of Red Sox Nation and objective baseball fans everywhere, the umpires conferred for a few minutes and overruled DeMuth’s initial call, ultimately getting the play right. What did Umpire Crew Chief John Hirschbeck have to say about what transpired? Referring to the call, Hirschbeck was heard saying “Our job is to get it right” during the FOX broadcast of the game last night.
We wondered what folks on Twitter had to say about the entire sequence. Many on Twitter naturally called DeMuth’s credibility into question. Other commended the umpiring crew for overruling the initial call and getting the play right. However, from the tweets we saw, no one mentioned the extended length of the game as a result of the time that was required for the umpires to convene and reverse DeMuth’s call. Included are reactions from both fans and media.
If a player made an error as big as the one DeMuth made, they might get benched.
— orangeandbrown (@orangeandbrown) October 24, 2013
— Mike Wilner (@Wilnerness590) October 24, 2013
Credit to umps DeMuth & Hirschbeck for taking a breath & nailing the Kozma error. A reminder that this ain’t sandlot. http://t.co/VWKq8V5Lvs
— Garrett Donovan (@GHDonovan) October 24, 2013
— David Waldstein (@DavidWaldstein) October 24, 2013
One of the primary arguments against implementing instant replay into Major League Baseball games centered around the notion that the games would increase in length by significant margins, ultimately decreasing the level of enjoyability. If the Twitter reaction we saw to last night’s game is any indication, any concerns that MLB has had about increased game duration decreasing fan interest should be allayed by the lack of interest in the issue on the part of the fans. After all, the NFL has not only adopted, but they and their fans have embraced replay as well as the strategic implications that come into play when deciding when, where and why an NFL coach should use a challenge.
In the end, if $10 beers haven’t forced MLB fans to run screaming into the waiting arms of the Canadian Football League, making the game a few minutes longer in an effort to get all of the calls right won’t either.