Baseball's round table of general managers officially recommended using instant replay for the first time this past winter in a 25-5 vote, and, as a result, every media outlet and avid fan has taken to debating the issue.
Disclaimer: To my bosses,
I love technology (especially healthcare technology). It is the best thing ever. It makes everything better.
Having said that…
Baseball’s round table of general managers officially recommended using instant replay for the first time this past winter in a 25-5 vote, and, as a result, every media outlet and avid fan has taken to debating the issue. Although the arguments for instituting this technology — which would be limited to boundary calls, such as whether a homerun is fair or foul, above the designated homerun line or below, or whether a fan has interfered - are valid and persuasive, the fact (yes, fact) still remains: baseball should adopt instant replay.
For starters, baseball has survived for over 150 years without the precious commodity that is instant replay, and, if left alone, will survive the next 150 years as well. The human element has always been a part of the game, and we should not just dismiss this traditional component just because we can, or, even worse, just because others sports have adopted it.
It’s well understood that the newest generation of baseball fans is being born with a cell phone in hand and has full internet navigational skills by age three. So it’s no wonder that this technologically inundated generation should be in full support of this motion. However, isn’t there something refreshing about the of technology in baseball? It’s like taking an extended vacation to a coastal town in , or, even better, , (specifically Hyde Bay Colony) — home to the of baseball, the Hall of Fame. Anyone who has been to these places can attest to the fact that there is an absence of all things e-mail and instant message, and you’ll find most people walking around (gulp!) without a cell phone.
It isn’t because they aren’t aware of the technological advances that have occurred in the last decade or two; rather, it’s that they are all aware of it. It’s a place where people go to realize that they can survive without logging onto the Internet hourly or being able to be reached by everyone they know at every moment of every day. Think about how technology has steadily crept its way into our daily routine, more and more by the day. If baseball were to rely on video replays to decide game calls, where would it end? Sure, it might end up just being boundary calls at first, but ten years from now, when an angry manager claims that an important game was lost because of a border line ball/strike call, will that open the gateway for angry fans and GMs to call for instant replay possibilities on each pitch? ESPN already provides “K-Zone” during television broadcasts, which is a rectangular box of the strike zone according to their standards. (For the record, I cannot stand the “K-Zone,” simply because each umpire is entitled to their idea of the strike zone, and it is very well known that some are considered to have a “high” strike zone, whereas others have a “low” one. So who is ESPN to tell us what is correct?!?) The point is, if the baseball powers that be decide to institute this new era of technology, it could set a dangerous precedent that could ultimately forever taint the beauty of the game.
I understand that instant replay is used to determine a 3-point shot in basketball; a goal in hockey; or a turnover in football; however, this is not enough to convince me that it is good for baseball. Should baseball conform for the sake of conforming? I, for one, appreciate the purity of the game and it’s resistance to technological pressure. Not only that, but I can think of at least three reasons why having instant replay is for the sport.
While I recognize that technological advancements have made our lives infinitely easier by providing us with capabilities that generations before us could have never even imagined, I refuse to budge on this issue. Let the NFL, NBA, and NHL have their instant replay — I will not pass judgment on them for utilizing it. However, I prefer my baseball pure, traditional, and with a side of an angry Lou Pinella.