Last night’s game is another example of the many things that have gone wrong for the Twins this season. In the bottom of the first inning, Justin Morneau hit what inicially was a two-run homer which would have given the Twins a 2-0 lead. However, upon review, the umpires ruled that it was a foul ball. Ron Gardenhire got ejected for arguing the call and the Twins would eventually lose the game 8-4.
After the game, Gardy indicated that the first base umpire had indicated to Gardy that he’d thought that it was a home run, but was overruled. This is exactly one of the reasons why instant replay in baseball is a bad idea.
Part of the problem in instant replay in baseball is the fact that the action covers a wide area unlike in the other major sports like basketball and football where the action follows the ball. For example if a batted ball goes to right field and a catch is made. The runner from third decides to tag. The outfielder throws home and it’s a really close call, but the runner is out. On review, it is determined that the runner is safe even if the first call was right.
When you’ve got the ball covering a lot of territory, you’re using multiple cameras. The timing of when you have a certain camera focused on the ball and the play can make all the difference in making it look like a call is different from what the initial call was. Granted the timing of going from one camera to the next has gotten faster, but it’s not as reliable as a human eye looking at the play for the first time.
Do umpires make mistakes? Sure they do, but it seems like there are more mistakes now than before. I don’t have actual numbers, but maybe because of the fact that instant replay is used for home run calls has increased the number of bad calls. if it weren’t for the technology being used in the game for instant replay, it would force the umpires to concentrate on the game and get the calls right.