I’ve never been a proponent of instant replay in baseball. I’ve always felt that deep down, we should stick with the human element. Like umpire Bill Klem once said, “It ain’t nothin’ till I call it”.
But dang, some calls the umps are making recently are making it difficult to maintain my case. There was the incident last Tuesday with Randy Marsh making a questionable call of Bobby Keppel’s pitch. Did it hit Brandon Inge’s uni or not? Marsh said no.
Now, Minnesota Twins skipper Ron Gardenhire is floating the idea of a “red flag” now in response to an incorrect call of a Joe Mauer ground rule double on Friday night (it’s not the first time he’s brought this idea up. He suggested it after a bad call in July).
Gardenhire’s summary of the red flag proposal:
"I’ve said all along that I want a red flag," Gardenhire said in the Star-Tribune after the Cuddyer play. "If you use it and you’re wrong, you don’t get to use it the rest of the game. If you use it and you’re right, you get your red flag back and that would save a lot of money (for ejections)."
The red flag? Bad idea. But worse, it’s a only a natural extension of the current implementation of instant replay and one of the reasons I was against it in the first place. We’re just headed down that road now and there’s not a lot to stop us.
I don’t blame Gardenhire. He’s gotta be pretty pissed. But there’s one tenet I’ve always held to. Whether it’s baseball, business, politcs or whatever, you never make policy decisions based on one particular incident. It might look good now in the heat of the postseason and with the emotionally charged atmosphere of an admitted bad call but it needs to hold up to the test of time.
To his credit, Gardenhire did leave himself an out:
“(the) great thing about baseball is the human element, and we always want to keep it that way. We made enough mistakes ourselves and we missed opportunities to win the game. It just goes that way."
Maybe this red flag idea will just go away.