Cubs And Pirates Postponed... But Baseball Needs Replay NOW

NOTE: This post was originally written on Wednesday night... moved to the top of the page since last night's blown call in Detroit is a topic worth discussing this morning.
Via Twittermyer, the Cubs/Pirates game was postponed at about 10:15 Eastern time:
Game called for unplayable conditions. No makeup date announced.
Gordo tweeted a bit later that there now IS a makeup date:
Game rescheduled for monday. Time tba. But day game expected.

So the Cubs will head to Houston for their off day tomorrow before taking on the Astros on Friday (and then go back to Pittsburgh on Monday -- the game is now tentatively scheduled for 11:35 am CDT). But that's not the big story in baseball tonight -- the big story, as most of you know, is the blown call in Detroit with two out in the ninth that cost Tigers pitcher Armando Galarraga a perfect game.

It's not the "worst call in baseball history", as many tweeted; Don Denkinger's blown call in the 1985 World Series has to be worse, if only for its impact -- it may have cost the Cardinals a World Championship (not that such a thing makes me that unhappy, but really, if they earn it, they earn it).

But a perfect game? Only done 20 times in MLB history? When is Armando Galarraga going to have a chance at that again? Some have called for Bud Selig to overrule this call and "award" Galarraga the perfecto, but that's not really helpful. How silly that would be -- giving a perfect game at a news conference.

The stupidity of MLB not using replay for things like this was underscored by the use of replay in tonight's Stanley Cup Final game -- only minutes after the farce in Detroit. Not that I wanted the goal to count against the Blackhawks, but the point is -- they got the call right. How hard is that concept for Bud Selig and his minions to understand? Instead of a weepy Jim Joyce saying he feels bad, JUST GET THE CALL RIGHT!

After the jump, I'll lay out a simple plan by which MLB could institute replay RIGHT NOW, and then refine it and have a better system in 2011.

In midseason, it's probably too difficult to put people in place in all 30 major league stadiums for all remaining games. So for this year, use the NHL system -- sit someone in the league offices in New York who would do all replays. There wouldn't be that many -- things like this maybe happen a few times a week, occasionally a little more often -- so MLB staff people in NYC could handle it, and communicate with umpires by phone or internet.

As I have written several times, give each manager two challenges per game. Most games, you'd never use any. Two should be enough, and would involve some element of strategy -- if you have a close call in the first inning, do you use one of your challenges up, or save it? Maybe make any close calls in the 8th inning or later mandatory review.

Reviewable calls would include: home runs (as now), fair/foul, caught/trapped, tag plays, and out/safe calls at the bases like the one Jim Joyce blew tonight. Ball/strike calls would specifically be excluded, as would any other call involving "umpire's judgment".

This would have the added benefit of eliminating manager ejections -- since they wouldn't be out there yelling and screaming, they could legitimately ask for the play to be reviewed. Players could avoid some ejections, too.

To improve the system by 2011, replay equipment would be installed at every ballpark, and a fifth umpire would be added to each crew. That umpire would rotate with the other four, and serve both as replay official AND official scorer -- thus taking away that position from sportswriters, who should never have had it in the first place.

I've been calling for such a system since the multitude of blown calls in last year's postseason. To have a call like this ruin a perhaps once-in-a-career opportunity for a pitcher, and take away what would have been the first perfect game in Detroit Tigers history, is just inexcusable.

Do it, Bud. Do it now. NOW. Tomorrow isn't too soon. Get it done. Get the calls right. It's way past time.

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