It looks like instant replay in major league baseball games is a forgone conclusion and it will be here by August.
The beauty of the game is the human element. The game has rules here were meant to be followed, (unless you can break them), but it also allows for judgment, cunning, and conniving.
The spitball is illegal but great pitchers work feverishly to find ways to doctor the ball. At least I hope they do.
It is illegal to steal signs but the runner on second is doing his best to relay the catcher's signal to the batter.
Any outfielder worth his salt always makes the catch of the sinking line drive by rolling over and raising his glove triumphantly. It does not matter if he trapped the ball. It does not matter that the replay shows he trapped the ball. What is important is the success of the deception at that moment so that the umpire calls the batter out.
The deception does not stop on defense. Credit the batter who trots confidently to first base in an effort to convince the umpire that the last pitch was either ball four or perhaps had hit him.
It is the pitcher walking off the mound in an effort to convince the same umpire that the last pitch was strike three.
Umpires falling victim to these tricks are as much a part of the game as are their most infamous calls. The game is meaningless without the failure on the umpire to call fan interference when Steve Bartman reached for the foul ball.
That may have been the correct call but we all appreciate the umpire's horrible call that gave Derek Jeter a home run in game 1 of the 1996 American League playoffs.
Umpires' mistakes like home runs that appear to wrap around the foul pole or calling out runners who clearly beat the throw home are part of the game.
I can see it now. It is the top of the 5th inning and the clean up batter has a 3-2 count with two outs and the bases loaded. The batter takes the pitch and the umpire calls it a strike as the ball drifts outside. The batter drags his bat muttering under his breath something about the umpire's relatives and suddenly the arm goes up to the sky and Dave Ortiz is summarily tossed from the game.
Instant replay shows the pitch was a ball, the batter is given first base and reinstated into the game.
Instant replay will end the game as we know it. First they will only use it for select plays such as the home run or the play at the plate. Eventually it will be used for calling balls and strikes. Finally the game will be perfected when the umpires are replaced by lasers, a gps, and microchips.
There are two problems with the game today. It takes too long and the expensive hot dogs stink. The instant replay will lengthen the time of the game, increase the price of the hot dog, and do nothing to improve its taste.