The Windup (cont.)
From the Mailbag
I'm always amazed when people think instant replay is a good thing in any sport. Football is now so boring I cannot watch it anymore. It's a game, guys! Played by humans who make mistakes. That's why people watch it. If you want everything perfect with instant replays, then start using robots for players and they can all be programmed to perform their roles perfectly -- no mistakes. Boy, won't that be fun to watch.
I got lots of e-mail on Major League Baseball's decision last week to include limited instant replay on "boundary" calls. Bob and a bunch of others are in one camp. And then you have ...
With all of the talk about instant replay, I never understood the fascination that many people have with the "human element" of umpiring. History is full of examples where the machine has performed better than man. People eventually get used to it and never go back. I say that replay should be used to overturn ANY bad call. There is no excuse to tolerate human errors in this day and age of amazing technology.
And here's another voice ...
How soon until computers are calling balls and strikes? Five years? Fifty years? It is bound to happen sooner or later. I have never been a fan of judgment-called sports like figure skating or gymnastics because there is a human element to who wins. Same with the strike zone. We have all seen the bad called third strike to end an inning that should not be over. Sooner or later, that human element needs to be removed for the fairness of the game.
As I wrote last week, I'm for instant replay. And I agree that it's probably smart to take a small first step, as baseball is doing. But, as technology gets better and better, I don't see how you can deny expanding its use. It may not be right away -- if you listen to Bud Selig, it most definitely will not be right away -- but if you have the means, use it. Get the call right. And for those who worry about the game losing the human element: As long as humans play it, we should be fine.
I watched [Tuesday] night's Mets-Phillies game until the Phillies tied the score in the bottom of the ninth when I had to go to sleep. This means I watched four hours of baseball without seeing how the game ended. And you want to stop the game for a few more minutes so the umpires can watch a video monitor?
I'm with you on this, David. This has to be quick. Like three or four minutes. And put a stopwatch on it, too, to make sure it's done in a timely manner. I would think, too, that baseball needs to continue its efforts to cut down the time on games. Get the batters into the box. Quit the stupid stalling to get relievers warmed up. And for those who say this game should not have a clock on it, I mostly agree. But you have to admit: Baseball is leisurely enough as it is.
There are a number of misstatements or faulty conclusions in your column on instant replay. First of all, Selig's statement that people want "more wild cards" -- you didn't feel that was worth challenging? And you say Selig, "has done more to shake up the game than any commissioner in history." It would be more accurate to say he has done less to deal with issues that have arisen. He allowed steroid use to become rampant, tarnishing records and calling into question the fairness in which games must be played. The historic separation of AL/NL has been erased. The All-Star game has become a circus, an annual BBQ for the players. I agree that the HR replay is only the beginning, although I don't think it's a good thing. And since when does baseball make a wholesale change mid-season? Oh, I suppose that's old-fashioned thinking.
Dave, appreciate your comments and opinions. Selig is still a polarizing figure. He's right, by the way, when he says some have called for another wild-card team in each league. Several people, in and out of the game, talked about it way back in 2003. The thinking was another wild card would add more postseason games (read: money) and it would make the road tougher for a wild-card team. In the end, Selig (I think smartly) resisted the change. On other fronts, what Selig has done for (or, Dave, in your mind, to) baseball is endlessly debatable. I happen to think that the blurring of lines between leagues was inevitable (because of free agency) as was the softening of the All-Star Game (because of the high-priced talent involved). And I agree with you on steroids: That's going to be the major subject of Selig's legacy. Lastly, I thought the midseason implementation of instant replay was a little odd, too. But the people putting it together felt that they were ready. We'll see if they are.
I heard some TV announcers talk about how Cliff Lee and Brandon Webb are the Cy Young favorites. While I agree with Lee, it's worth mentioning that the only major statistic that Webb leads in is wins. Whereas Tim Lincecum leads the NL in ERA and in K's and has managed 14 wins on an atrocious Giants team. What hurts Lincecum's chances more the fact that he plays for the Giants or the fact that he is only in his second year?
Good question, Steve. I think Lincecum loses a little steam playing for a team that most voters lost interest in a long time ago. (I don't think his service time has much to do with it.) But don't worry about him being too anonymous. He was, remember, an SI cover subject just a few short weeks ago. I'll also say this: If Webb continues to falter, and Lincecum keeps this up, the NL Cy Young vote will be a lot closer than you think.
How much longer do you think the Twins will give Delmon Young to produce? We have many good players (Jason Kubel, Denard Span) who could replace him. Players that can not only hit the ball but also catch the ball.
Kathleen, Young is still young (he won't be 23 for a couple of weeks), so the Twins aren't about to give up yet. He's been disappointing in his lack of power (only eight home runs), but scouts still see all the tools they love; the quick bat, the big arm, speed on the basepaths, etc. He needs to work on his plate discipline, and as he gets older, his power numbers should increase. Bottom line: Give him another year or two. If he's not better by then, start worrying.