Instant Replay in MLB

In what seems to be the theme of this postseason, the umpires botched another couple of calls in Game Two of the World Series last night. Then, on SportsCenter, Buck Showalter really botched his anti-instant replay argument.

First, the bad calls. In the seventh inning, Jorge Posada on first, Johnny Damon batting... Damon hits a soft liner in the direction of first base. Ryan Howard "catches" it, makes an initial move to tag first base but then decides to throw to second. His throw pulls Jimmy Rollins off the bag.

The call? One of the weirder double plays in recent memory. Damon was out because Howard caught the ball on a fly, Posada out... just because. (Maybe it happened after they went to commercial, but I never saw Howard tag first or anyone tag Posada.)

Replays seemed to show Howard trapping the ball, rather than catching it. Of course, Howard didn't seem to think he'd caught the ball on a fly -- if he had, he would have simply stepped on first, rather than throwing to second. Sure, the trap was hard to see when viewing the play at full speed -- but shouldn't Howard's reaction count for something?

In the next inning, we had a more typical missed call, as the umpires called Chase Utley out on the second half of a double play. Replays clearly showed him beating the throw from Cano to Teixeira.

After the latest blown call, the subject of replay predictably came up on SportsCenter, where Buck Showalter offered this argument:

If they watch the replay and reverse the call, where do you put the runners? That's why you can't have replay.
Uh, what?

Take the Damon/Posada play, and follow it to its conclusion. Howard's throw pulled Rollins off the bag, so there's no force-out at second. Posada gets the base. Howard never tagged first, so Damon gets that base. What's so difficult about that?

The Utley play is even simpler. Utley beat the throw, he gets the bag. What's to discuss?


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