Whenever you’re on the wrong side of an argument…you sound ridiculous! A buddy of my emailed me and says “Andrew, baseball’s a sport that’s been around for a hundred years…they must be doing something right! Not being up to date doesn’t always translate to being wrong” dude, the computer has been around for like 50 years, should they not update it? You’ve gotta evolve bud! It’s called continuing education, it’s called evolving in business. The NFL tweaks constantly. I mean God, baseball has evolved a lot – that’s why I always laugh about Major League Baseball…they’ve raised the mound, they’ve lowered the mound, they brought the DH in the early 70’s, they’ve made wildcard additions…baseball changes all the time! They’ve been semi-progressive…why now are they afraid of instant replay?
This idea that baseball never changes…it actually changes constantly and has historically. Think about this, for people that argue…the argument that it’ll slow down baseball is so laughably wrong. I mean what? It’s going to be slower than 2 fat guys jogging out to the umpire and arguing for 8 minutes? That doesn’t take time? By the time the managers come out and argue their point for 90 seconds to 2 minutes…you’ve got the play call!
Secondly, baseball lasted 2 hours and 29 minutes in 1970, it now lasts 3 hours. It’s been slowed down and it has nothing to do with replay. You’ve got finicky high price players who want their at-bats, the Yankee/Red Sox games last year average about 3 hours and 38 minutes. That’s over an hour longer – over an hour longer than baseball games lasted in the 70’s. High price guys, out of the box, kind of elitist guys, entitled guys, you’re A-Rod’s, your David Ortiz’s stepping out of the box. So this idea that baseball – that it’ll slow it down, Yankee/Red Sox’s…the only rivalry in baseball that truly exists nationally…they play 3 hour and 40 minute games…without reply! What’s another 5 minutes going to be for a call that could decide the game?
The other thing is – in the automotive industry, engines got bigger and heavier. So when engines got bigger and heavier…did the automotive industry suddenly say “we’re just not going to use them?” No! They said “alright, let’s bring our engineers in and let’s lighten the rest of the car. Let’s eliminate parts, let’s use lighter materials, so that the heavy engine doesn’t burden the car. So we’ll lighten up the rest of the car, around the engine.” That what they did in the automotive industry.
So with baseball, find other ways to take 8 minutes off the game – pitching changes, mound conferences, in and out of the batter’s box, breaks between innings…shave, shave, shave and shave. Tell your umpires “loosen up the strike zone; if you don’t…you won’t be rewarded with post-season assignments.” That’s money for umpires by the way; they can make $30,000 bucks in a post-season. For a guy making $200,000 a year with $30,000 or $40,000 extra….that’s a lot of money! It’s a lot of money for anybody, but it’s a lot of money for that kind of income. You can quicken the game around it, 6 or 7 minutes a game, so that if you do go into one long replay, the game is not any longer.
The other argument I get – listen, if I was the MLB commissioner I’d lob out 40 games, I’d go down to 122 and I would really sit down with the umpires and say “loosen up the strike zone, pitching changes…we’re going to offer fines, suspensions…be on it or I won’t give you post-season assignments and I’ll give you lousy games. I’ll send you to Kansas City for a summer; I’ll send you to Texas in August. You won’t get a single Red Sox game; you’ll watch Padres baseball all year.” So you can eliminate 6 or 7 minutes a night and then replays won’t matter as much in terms of time.
The other thing that I hear is this “well Andrew, it’ll spoil great dramatic baseball moments”. Well, it’ll just be replaced by “the replay moment” you see that in football. “TOUCHDOWN Steelers!!” No? Let’s go to the replay! And the crowd sits and waits for the replay – you still have drama, you added drama in fact. You added another element of drama – the replay drama. But I don’t understand in this world we live in, not getting a call right…I just don’t get it!
One of the things we’ve learned from the NFL – and I think that’s a tougher sport to officiate simply because it’s faster compared to baseball and there’s more players jammed into one another, so some of the calls are covert or hidden….the ref’s in the NFL usually get the calls right! I mean in the NFL, they don’t overturn calls very often; the ref’s almost always get it right. MLB umpires usually get it right. So let go of the Hubertus, let go of the ego, bring in the replay…it is such a dis-service.
I mean Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said it Tuesday night; this is no way to end a baseball game “You like to see the game finish by the players…win or lose. So for it to end that way, is as disappointing as it gets in a game and for the game to end that way…that’s really too bad. The game tonight deserved way better than that” Clint Hurdle speaking to the media after the controversial call in the 19th inning of Tuesday’s game between the Braves and Pirates where the Pirates catcher had the ball in his glove upon tagging the Braves player sliding into home before touching home plate and was called safe.