By: Dan Hauser
“An essential part of the baseball drama is the human element. An umpire is part of that. I perceive the play, apply the rules and make the decision, all in real time. Under these circumstances, questionable calls sometimes happen… My role is to decide what is right.”- Tim Welke
This is an excerpt from a Sports Illustrated article in which umpire Tim Welke talks about the human element being a great part of the game of baseball. Well for lack of a better term Mr. Welke proved last night that the human element argument is complete bull. He also showed once again why all the other major sports leagues in this country have taken the “human element” out of the hands of the officials and turned it over to technology.
For those of you who did not see what I am referring to I will set it up for you. It is the top of the 6th inning in a game between the Los AngelesDodgers and the Colorado Rockies. There are 2 outs and Jerry Hariston is at the plate. He hits a ground ball to the Rockies third baseman who then throws it to Todd Helton at first. No big deal there. Bang bang play to get the third out of the inning. The only problem was that Helton was about three feet of the bag and Welke still called him out. Here is the play in real time.
Instead of the Dodgers having runners on first and second and 2 outs with a chance to score its end of the inning. The Dodgers went on to lose the game 8 to 5. Now I’m not saying that the blown call cost them the game but it sure didn’t help their case either.
This is just another example of why Major League Baseball is getting passed by other major sports leagues in this country. Yes the human element might have been great 50 years ago but that is because there were no other options. In this day in age where technology is all over the place and you can watch games on your cell phone the human element just doesn’t fly. How is it that I can be sitting on my couch at home and clearly see that not only is he not out but Helton’s foot is a good three feet off the bag but the supposed “paid professional” standing right there can’t? And how much longer can Bud Selig continue to turn a bind eye to these types of things? The “human element” already cost pitcher Armando Galarraga a perfect game last year. What’s next? Will MLB finally wake up when it costs a team a World Series trophy?
BudSelig needs to wake up and get with the times. He has added replay to home run calls but he needs to pull the trigger and add full instant replay. There are those that will argue that it will slow down the pace of the game and that most baseball games are already long enough as it is. News flash everyone said the same thing when the NFL was talking about adding instant replay and it seems to be working out quite well. I just don’t want to see poor calls cost anyone or anytime anymore potentially historic milestones in the great game of baseball.