>These are bad times for America's pastime. Umpire Jim Joyce ruined a perfect game last night by calling pitcher Armando Galarraga's final and 27th out "safe." Replays showed that Joyce was blatantly wrong. Today baseball faces the inevitable question: Is it time for more instant replay?
The Atlantic's Hampton Stevens, in a very well-written article, says no. I say yes. Instant replay should never determine balls or strikes. But for safe calls, tags, fair/foul rulings, and home runs, the game deserves the accuracy that a second look can provide.
The most immediate reason is that accuracy is good for the game. Is it really in the interest of baseball that ESPN run 48 hours of "look at this stupid call" clips? It cannot be. Is it in the interest of fans or players to have games or history possibly changed because umpires are imperfect and the caretakers of baseball find the idea of imperfection quaintly attractive? I hope not.
Stevens writes, "in baseball, you can do everything right and still have it all go wrong because of somebody else's mistake. Kind of like life." No argument there. But this is a sport, not a Chekhov play. We shouldn't evaluate it by its proximity to the human condition. In life, we would sometimes like to turn back time, and we can't. In sports, we would sometimes like to turn back time, and we can. So why not?