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Time For MLB to Use Instant Replay for Playoff Games PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Maury Brown   
Tuesday, 02 October 2007 06:51

Matt Holliday at the plateThere was no Tim McCarver, or Joe Morgan-esqe feel to TBS’ broadcast of last night’s incredible 13-inning classic between the San Diego Padres and the Colorado Rockies – a big plus for the network showing MLB in postseason for the first time, but at the very end, one wonders how discussions around the water cooler would be today if FOX had been covering game.

The only negative tick I could place on TBS’ coverage was purely technical: the lack of cameras might have changed how we all are discussing the 13th inning play at the plate. That play that had Padres’ catcher Michael Barrett’s position in front of the plate without the ball (which could might have possibly been ruled obstruction based on Rule 7.06 which reads, “The catcher, without the ball in his possession, has no right to block the pathway of the runner attempting to score. The base line belongs to the runner and the catcher should be there only when he is fielding a ball or when he already has the ball in his hand.) -- his cleat blocking the plate, which then blocked  Matt Holliday’s head-first slide into home plate which appeared to show his left hand missing the plate. Umpire Tim McClelland, however, ruled Holliday safe, giving the Rockies the win, and the ensuing controversy began.

Coming back around on the cameras, FOX has always been exceptional in being able to capture key plays such as these due to the use of more cameras around the ballpark, and using gadgetry such as lipstick cameras at ground level in front of the plate.

You’re saying, this is all hyperbole. The umpire made the call, and therefore, all the camera proof be damned, it wouldn’t overturn the call.

That’s the case, and that’s why it’s time for MLB to get with the program and start using instant replay for critical games, such as last night’s tiebreaker.

In a sport that is not time dependent, and with the stakes as high as they are with playoff games, the use of the extra cameras afforded playoff games should be used to help determine the accuracy of such plays that make or break a season for the teams competing. The purists in the crowd will call me a heretic, but if MLB has been willing to use QuesTec, it’s time for MLB to consider instant replay. In the case of last night, if, after reviewing the film, the footage rendered whether Holliday touched the plate with his left hand or was blocked by Barrett's left foot, then the call would be let stand, and the controversy could be put to rest.

For now, the great game played last night will be overshadowed by a call by the umpire that may, or may not be wrong. It’s time to take the “maybe” out of playoff games by adding in instant replay.

What do you think? Add your comments on last night’s call, as well as what you think about the use of instant replay in MLB playoff games. You can also vote in our online poll: On the Game Winning Play by the Rockies, Matt Holliday Was...



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