The goal for every umpire in Major League Baseball is perfection. Often during games they will confer to each other for confirmation. While many times they are criticized for blowing a call, more often than not, they are spot-on. This season MLB will be instituting instant replay. Like many of the other major sports, coaches will be given opportunities to challenge certain plays in the game. This will no longer make close calls irreversible, but will allow their calls to be even more precise. Here is a look at a few plays that had impact on single games, pitchers making history, and October runs that would have greatly benefited from instant replay.
June 1st 2013 Brewers Vs. Phillies
In the 9th inning at Philadelphia, the Brewers were trying to hang on to a 4-3 lead. With pitcher Kyle Kendrick pinch running, Brewers closer, Francisco Rodriguez wheeled around to pick him off. Shortstop Jean Segura appeared to make an outstanding diving play and tag. However, when seen in replay Segura never caught the ball. He picked it up off the ground, and the umpire called him out for the second out of the inning. With Kendrick off the bases, the Brewers went on to win the game. While it was just one game effected of 162, calls like this could have a great impact on a season.
June 6th 2010 Tigers Vs. Indians
Armando Galarraga was having the night of his life. With two outs in the bottom of the ninth, he was one out away from throwing a perfect game and putting his name in the record books. After getting Jason Donald to ground to first, Galarraga raced to the bag and clearly beat Donald to first for the final out. However, umpire Jim Joyce saw otherwise as he called the runner safe. All Galarraga could do was shake his head. Galarraga finished the game by retiring the next batter, but his place in history was taken away. Joyce told Daniel Paisner, the author of Nobody’s Perfect, that he had many sleepless nights after the call. Had replay been in effect, the call would have certainly been reversed. Galarraga would have had his perfect game and Joyce would have been out of the hot seat.
October 9th 1996 Orioles Vs. Yankees Game One of ALCS
With the Orioles clinging to a 4-3 lead in game one of the ALCS, Derek Jeter launched a fly-ball to deep right field. Oriole outfielder, Tony Tarasco sprinted after the ball, found the wall, and waited for the ball to land. It never did. As he was camped underneath the descending ball, a young fan nabbed the ball out of the air.
Tarasco immediately exploded. He pointed up at the fan, yelling furiously that the ball had been taken from him. After the umpires met, the call stood as a homerun. The replay showed that Tarasco was camped and waiting for the ball to make the catch. With replay, the call would have definitely been overturned. The momentum of the game and the series could have swung in the Orioles’ favor and they could have made a run at the World Series. Instead, the Orioles would go on to lose the game in extra innings and eventually lose the series.
References: MLB.com video and Nobody’s Perfect