Saturday, January 16, 2016

Baseball Rules Can Be Nit-Picky

The vast majority of the time instant replay is a good thing. As a former umpire, and current basketball official, I would never say that any one call during a game directly affects the final score. Whether that call is made on the very first play of the game, or the very last play of the game, there's just way too much that goes on for that one call to be the cause of anyone's win or loss.

Also, being an official, I've been taught to go strictly by the rules. It doesn't matter whether I agree with a ruling or not, I have to call the game the way the rules say to. Just like the cop that gives you a speeding ticket for only going a couple miles per hour over the limit.. it's nit-picky, but that's the law.

Which brings us to a controversial call...

This call in particular is obvious, but you get the idea.

A runner is going from first to second base, and beats the tag. However, when he pops up after the slide, it's found on instant replay that for a split-second he was no longer in contact with the bag, and since the fielder kept his glove on the runner he's ruled to be out.

It's a nit-picky call, but according to the rules, the runner is out. And I don't see how you can change the rule to avoid such calls, without making it so complicated that it's bound to get screwed up anyway. But there is one way to help avoid it, and that's to make it un-reviewable.

If the umpire can see the player come off the bag and get tagged out, then that's fine. But if it takes HD quality video, slowed down frame-by-frame, and seen from a few different angles to find, then forget it.

Unfortunately, as Jon Morosi tweeted yesterday, it doesn't look like the instant replay rule on overslides will change. At least not this coming season. It's a shame, but honestly... it's not a big deal. There are many rules, in just about every sport, that are strange or downright stupid. But as long as the rules are the same for everybody, then so be it.

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Sorry for the Capatcha... Blame the Russians :)