The Los Angeles Times reports, "Bullpen lets down Dodgers in loss to Phillies." ESPN has video snippets, and the Philadelphia Inquirer has a slideshow.
The Phillies' John Mayberry, Jr. scored off a single by Hunter Pence, and it was a close call at home. Umpire Wally Bell called Mayberry safe and my wife asks, "Do they have instant replay in baseball?" I said no, "baseball wouldn't be the same with instant replay."
So it's interesting that I see this piece at the New York Times this morning, "With Replay Being Debated, Missed Call in ’85 Resonates":
Visitors to the Kansas City Royals Hall of Fame, beyond left field at Kauffman Stadium, can watch a short film about the history of the franchise. Nowhere in the film is the name Don Denkinger mentioned.There's video from the 2010 blown call here.
Denkinger was the first-base umpire for Game 6 of the 1985 World Series between the Royals and the St. Louis Cardinals. He missed a crucial call at first base that sparked a ninth-inning comeback for the Royals, who won the championship the next night. It was probably the most significant missed call in baseball history.
“I went down to the Cardinal clubhouse, and I was on the platforms and everything for the Denkinger call,” said the broadcaster Tim McCarver, then working his first World Series, for ABC. “And a horde came out of the woodwork to disassemble what I was standing on. So I figured I’ve got to get out of here, because they are actually moving the stuff underneath me.”
Perhaps the Royals were due for such a cosmic break; they had reached the postseason five times without winning before 1985 and have not returned. In any case, they benefited from the so-called human element, the imperfection in umpiring that baseball seems so eager to preserve.
All these years since the Denkinger call, baseball still resists the wide implementation of instant replay. Home run calls have been reviewable since 2009, but blatant mistakes by umpires have become so pervasive that even “The Simpsons” recently poked fun at them.
Commissioner Bud Selig should be lauded, to a point, for proceeding carefully with technology and wanting to preserve the traditional rhythms and pacing of the game. But Selig also seemed out of touch Tuesday when he insisted that nobody really wanted expanded replay, anyway.
“We’ve added some more, we’re going to continue to do that,” Selig said. “But I can tell you very candidly, the appetite for more instant replay in the sport is very low. Everyone. There are some people who think we’ve maybe gone too far already.”
It is hard to accept that, though, when viewers at home clearly see Todd Helton being awarded a putout while standing three feet off first base, or Dewayne Wise getting credit for a catch he never made.
The recent missed call with the most historical impact, of course, was the one that cost Detroit pitcher Armando Galarraga a perfect game in 2010. The first-base umpire who blew that call, Jim Joyce, worked the same spot at the All-Star Game on Tuesday.
I guess the instant replay would bring baseball into the 21st century, but I still think the game wouldn't be the same --- maybe it would be better?
More at this June piece at NYT, "Challenge System Enters Baseball Replay Debate." (And it mentions there that replays are used for disputed home run calls.)