(Re)Play it again, Sam

Last week, as the tension was (yawn) mounting for the baseball contest (a.k.a. the MLB All-Star Game) to begin, which would decide who would have the home field advantage (another yawn) during this fall’s World Series, the radio guys were killing time (now there’s a shocker) prior to the first pitch by discussing the possibility of making instant replay a regular part of all baseball games.

No, that’s not a typo (this time, anyway) – you read it correctly - I said all baseball games. And the kicker was that baseball was supposedly basing their decision on the "success" experienced by the NFL in their use of replay over the last few years.

Now, if we can forget just for a second the two sports are so vastly different that one sport making a decision based upon the other sport’s action(s) is inherently ludicrous, let’s then think about what replay has done for a typical Browns game.

Suppose there’s 2:43 left in regulation and the opposing coach has thrown the challenge flag because he thinks a Browns player stepped out of bounds back at the 23-yard line while returning the kickoff, instead of him being tackled at the 28, a difference of five measly yards, right? But the announcers will tell us it’s about the "integrity of the game" and "getting it right."

Listen, since the Browns are typically losing something like 35-7 at this stage of the game anyway, who cares? Besides, if it was truly about the integrity of the game, the NFL would have a mercy rule so that any time a team was down by more than, say, 21 points at the half, the official would call the game. Now that would be progress, no? We could then go home and maybe even enjoy the rest of our Sunday.

Instead, the officials converge and shoot the bull for 15 minutes while the head referee sticks his head under a black cover and – in theory, anyway – observes the play in question on a private TV monitor from, oh say, about 112 different angles. When he finally comes out – after realizing the last 111 angles weren’t necessary – he announces, “The play stands as called.”

The problem is, of course, that the original play occurred so long ago that no one – including the officials – remembers what the play even was, so they end up spotting the ball at the 33-yard line anyway. This does absolutely nothing for the game, although it does suggest that these guys would make great U.S. congressmen.

So, we can only hope that Major League Baseball re-thinks their strategy for implementing further instant replay before doing anything crazy.

Besides, we need to look at the big picture – and seriously consider – that someday we may get too camera-happy as a society and get carried away with this replay nonsense. Because, before you know it, you could be out driving around and there will be cameras placed at certain heavily-traveled intersections, just waiting to nab you if you pass through the intersection a fraction of a second after the light turned red, or went a mile or two over the speed limit.

Oh, wait a second… Never mind.

Jeff Bing

Lifelong Westlake resident who dabbles in writing whenever the real world permits. My forte is humor and horror...What a combo!

Read More on Sporting Views
Volume 5, Issue 15, Posted 9:50 AM, 07.23.2013