If there was any room for debate left as to whether Major League Baseball should adopt video reviews, it is gone after last night’s Yankees-Angels game.
In the space of an hour, the umpires made three blatant egregious mistakes*, each of which was instantly–and incontrovertibly–evident to the stadium, the teams, and the millions of people watching the game.
The calls were so bad, in fact, that even the umpire who made two of them–Tim McClelland–is actually admitting he blew it:
“I’m just out there trying to do my job and do it the best I can.”
(This in response to what many people have now called the “worst call ever.”)
The game, thankfully, wasn’t close. If it had been, the people in the stands probably would have stormed the field.
And the point here is not to rag on umpires, who do a miraculous job given the limited technology they have (eyes and ears). It is to smash MLB and the umpires union for refusing to change the way they do business despite quantum leaps in technology.
For those who weren’t watching:
- The Yankees’ Nick Swisher was called safe at second after clearly being picked off by a brilliant move from the Angels pitcher. Every angle of every replay clearly showed that Swisher was tagged out.
- The Yankees Nick Swisher was called out for leaving third too early on a tag-up, erasing a Yankee run from the scoreboard. Every replay clearly showed that Swisher’s foot was still on third base when the fly ball was caught.
- The worst call ever–made by the same third-base umpire Tim McClelland–was when Robinson Cano was somehow called safe at third despite being tagged with his foot a foot off the bag. Again, every replay clearly showed that the call had been blown.
Our understanding (admittedly limited) is that baseball hasn’t adopted replay because the umpires are scared of losing their jobs and looking like fools.
That’s just ridiculous.
MLB will never be able to completely officiate games from some broadcast booth–and the job security of NFL referrees, tennis linesman, and other sports officials who have availed themselves of technology has never been threatened.
And as to looking like fools: Tim McClelland and the rest of the Yankees-Angels officiating crew would feel a lot less stupid today if they hadn’t done their jobs so godawfully badly yesterday evening.
Other businesses change as technology changes. It’s time for the baseball officiating business to change, too.
* An erudite reader suggested we describe the calls as “egregious mistakes” instead of “blatant mistakes” because blatant suggests intent…
(of bad behaviour) done openly and unashamedly : blatant lies.
• completely lacking in subtlety; very obvious : forcing herself to resist
his blatant charm.
1 outstandingly bad; shocking : egregious abuses of copyright.
2 archaic remarkably good.
egregiously |əˈgridʒəsli| |iˈgridʒəsli| adverb
egregiousness |əˈgridʒəsnəs| |iˈgridʒəsnəs| noun
ORIGIN mid 16th cent. (sense 2): from Latin egregius ‘illustrious,’
literally ‘standing out from the flock,’ from ex- ‘out’ + grex, greg-
‘flock.’ The derogatory sense (late 16th cent.) probably arose as an
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