You will have by now heard that some are advocating the use of “instant replay” in baseball. The, for lack of a better word, entities pushing for this realize its nefarious implications, and so suggest the video tape be referenced only for disputed home run calls.
Please, God, do not let them do it.
I used to enjoy watching American football when I was boy. Two things destroyed my pleasure in this sport. The first, and most obvious, is the increasing non-stop blather from the sportscasters, now crammed three or four to a booth. These guys never know when to shut up. Worse, broadcast colleagues in baseball thought that they should get in on the act and not just call the game, but to analyze every triviality. No, instead of great announcers like Ernie Harwell and Phil Rizzuto—gentlemen who knew when to shut up and let us hear the relaxing sounds of the ballpark—we have corporate types with “communications degrees” endlessly uttering profundities like “This game isn’t over, Jim.”
This would have been tolerable in football if it weren’t for the second degrading change: The instant replay. Games now drag by as referees, doubtless worried their calls might be challenged, gather at the end of nearly every play to have a little chat about what just happened. And then there is the ridiculous spectacle of a coach prancing up to the sidelines to delicately toss a little red flag on the field when he feels piqued. It is a pathetic thing to see.
I predict that not too many years from now, the game of football will have evolved so that each team’s rosters are supplemented by attorneys (both offensive and defensive ones, naturally). At the conclusion of each play, the lawyers will charge the field to dispute the play—challenging the outcome on the grounds of insanity, income disparity, etc.—to be settled by a jury of tennis fans (who presumably will not prejudice the outcome). Some plays will be so contentious that they will end up in court. It will eventually take years to finish a “season” as the courts become backlogged with cases.
Please do not let this happen to baseball. Umpires, like MBA business executives who think of things like instant replay, make mistakes, but so what. You will get over a bad call. The instant replay some say makes good “business sense” because “so much is at stake.” Nonsense. It is only a game and it is meant to be entertaining.
It will suck the life out of baseball, interrupt the natural flow, and make watching the games more of a chore than a pleasure.