Real quick-like, Baseball Men: Jerry Meals. Bucs @ Braves. Twitter, Facebook, hell, the whole baseball wing of the internet explodes. Calls for rolling heads. What was it? I’ll help you along with the answer, so you don’t have to Google. It was the “blown call” by Jerry Meals, home plate umpire, which allowed the Braves to win in the bottom of the 19th inning after almost seven hours of play.
This comes to mind as a result of reading a Joe Posnanski column, well after the fact. I tend to keep Joe on catch-up, like a DVR…daily reading wouldn’t be as much fun. None the less. My question: is instant replay still an absolute, unavoidable, must-have-immediately necessity for baseball to maintain any integrity for it’s fans? I still question that, and would resist it deeply, if I were in any position to influence it. I bow to the fact that a whole lot of my (me, being baseball) fans are addicted to the 21st century electronic crack of Twitter and Facebook, and these people probably spend a decent amount of money to support my league and it’s teams.
But do we need to change the fabric of the game, just to satisfy a few shrieking maniacs, who are generally watching at home on a 46″ HD-capable flat-screen with six different camera angles beamed at super-slow-mo right into their laps? I said no, and I still say no.
Besides, what’s all this about my (I’m still playing the role of baseball) “integrity”? Integrity??? Mark McGwire and Barry Bonds, anyone? Inter-league play? Unbalanced schedules? There are just too many things about baseball that need fixin’ before we start worrying about super-late-inning blown calls that aren’t even necessarily that blown.
Back to me, The Fat Guy. Don’t forget that I’m 51 years old, and I don’t have a lot of sway in the considerations of Major League Baseball. The guys behind me, probably two generations worth, are the tweeters and fbookers and six thousand other things they do with their tablets in real-time with HD. Those are the ones that need pleasin’. If they were interested in pleasin’ me, they wouldn’t play all that execrable rap and hard rock at 150dB at the yards.
One point for you to consider as you ponder this imponderable: presume that the blown call would have reversed the results, one of the outcomes of the replay. If PIT wins, they are 17 games out of the division lead, instead of 18, and Atlanta is only seven games up on the rest of the pack chasing the wild card. As we used to say in the schoolyard after playing with pocketknives, big whoop. Put another way, I’m not seeing where a bleeding drop of integrity has even been in danger.