Instant Replay's latest victim? Thy name is Jim Joyce.
Submitted by admin on Thu, 06/03/2010 - 10:51pm.
This is why the Instant Replay, even when not a factor in the physical rules has and will continue to ruin sports. Because once we allow it to creep into sports like a Cancer; it will spread and even where it isn’t, there is fear it will be there soon enough. The latest victim Jim Joyce who miscalled the final out of Armando Galarraga’s what would have been perfect game.
Galarraga is NOT the victim as—aside from personal glory—it cost him nothing. He got a complete game shutout victory for his Tigers and he gracefully accepted the human error of Joyce in his post game interview by not only not bashing him, but defending him saying “we all make mistakes.”
Perhaps it is easier for Galarraga than the average fan who sits in his ivory tower—and by “tower” I mean couch and by “ivory” I mean XXL sweatpants—watching the game repeatedly in super slow mow without lifting more then the finger to his DVR.
WE HAVE BEEN BRAINWASHED AS SPORTS FANS—and I capitalize this to show you the terror I feel as I think back to the simple time of what was called on the field was the call on the field—into forgetting that these officials don’t have the luxury of watching the games in split frame three angle super slow-mo camera views. They don’t; that is why they are trained at these jobs to make calls and to be in position to make them. It was once solely, but now we have introduced the replay breathing down their necks and making them second-guess.
Even though we would like to believe in baseball it is ONLY for checking disputed home runs it is there, in everyone’s mind when an umpire misses a call waiting to be debated, to be let further in. And the only place it looms larger than in the mind of the fan is in the mind of that very official.
While it is only my opinion, you cannot convince me otherwise of what went through the gifted and talented Jim Joyce’s head—who ranked SECOND in a 2006 SI players poll http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2006/players/06/20/poll.0620/—as he made that final call. All he could think of in the split second he made that call was not that his say was final but rather that it would be weighed against the very replay that we all say has no effect on baseball outside of home runs. In a split second his mind flashed I don’t want to call him out when he’s safe and GIVE him a perfect game for which I’ll be ridiculed and I don’t want to call him safe when he his out and COST him the perfect game. In the circus of safe and out calls that went through his head… he called safe. With it, Joyce cemented his place in dubious history. Meanwhile, Galarraga smiled almost sympathetically at him. He cemented his place as well, as a competitor who still respects the game and with it final say of the men in blue—replays be damned.
If you want officials to be the best, then give them power and hold them 100% accountable. When calls are missed don’t try to fix them with instant replay modifications, punish the umpires with suspensions and fines. This will remind them to be in position and focused. And more importantly it will make them less worried about replays and public opinion and more worried about performing their jobs correctly.