'From the Pressbox'
By Ernie Palladino
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Tom Hanks taught us a long time ago that "there's no crying in baseball!"
Guess what? There aren't any flags, either, except for Old Glory and the team pennants that wave above stadiums around the major leagues.
But if Joe Girardi and others have their way, there will be flags flying around the field as baseball brings even more technology to the on-field proceedings.
Girardi's recent statement indicating favor toward expanding instant replay rulings from home runs to close calls at the plate goes right along with other's willingness to take the game out of the umpires' hands and place it in the electronic synapses of the video machines upstairs. And that would be a shame, the same shame the NFL should feel about removing much of the human element from the game with its replay system.
It's an old debate, certainly. Either keep things as humanly pure as possible and live with the occasional blown call, or use the ever-advancing camera technology to assure a correct call.
Indeed, a replay challenge would have taken away Johan Santana's no-hitter a couple of weeks ago and deprived the Mets of an historic first. But at least it would have reversed a wrong call. And it would have saved young Tiger Armando Galarraga's perfect game in 2010 and kept first base umpire Jim Joyce from incurring ton of fan angst.
On Saturday, replay might have turned a hair-close out call on Tyler Moore's slide home to safe, thereby producing the winning run for Washington and eliminating the possibility of Mark Teixeira hitting a 14th-inning double that moved Girardi's squad a game closer to their first triple-sweep since 2009.
Give Girardi credit for not being a sunshine advocate. A reversal there would have cost him a game, but he still sticks up for expanding replay. That's admirable.
It's just wrong, that's all. Baseball already has enough technology in it. More than enough, in fact. We purists believe games should be called by humans and humans alone. All games. Pro and college football. Hockey, whose infernal system for determining bang-bang goals sends the issue all the way up to Toronto. Tennis and its line calls.
Every one of them.
Girardi argues that an expanded replay system would actually speed up the game by eliminating the need for those long, protracted arguments between manager and umpire that often lead to ejections. Instead, Girardi theorized, a manager's got a beef, he throws a little challenge flag -- color yet to be determined.
Oh, brother. Challenge flags in baseball. No managers flying out of dugouts, throwing hats, kicking dirt? No F-bombs or unintentional spit flying around on both sides?
Nobody getting launched?
It's as laughable as using lasers to call balls and strikes, and don't think that hasn't been suggested before.
Thankfully, commissioner Bud Selig has said any expansion would not be likely until 2013, and that he's fairly happy with how things stand now. The current proposals in front of the players and umpires unions now call for fair/foul and trapped-ball calls to be reviewable.
Baseball doesn't need more technology. Let them argue, on the field and in the bars.
And the concept of challenge flags? Please.
There's no flags in baseball!
Unless they're flapping atop a stadium.
Are you for expanded replay -- or is enough, enough? Be heard in the comments below...
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