Friday, June 4, 2010

Expansion of Instant Replay in MLB?

Less than 24 hours after the historic blown call by Jim Joyce, the Tigers and Indians were set to play the final game in their series with Joyce behind the plate. The fans, Armando Galarraga, and Jim Joyce showed a lot of class. Galarraga brought out the lineup card to Joyce and they shook hands. Joyce clearly was distraught over the terrible call he made and showed a lot by admitting his mistake. I cannot get over how much class Galarraga has shown throughout this whole ordeal and I really respect him now. I think everyone is going to remember him as the pitcher who threw a 28-out perfect game.

I agree with Bud Seilig's decision to not overturn the call. It would've altered baseball. I mean, it would suddenly make it seem OK to start overturning calls in crucial situations such as in the World Series, etc. That would not be OK, in my opinion. It happened, it was unfortunate, but nothing should be done to change the situation and Galarraga was obviously OK with how things played out (I mean as much as anyone could be).

The blown call has led to increased discussion for the expansion of instant replay in baseball. A huge step was made when it was allowed for umpires to go to instant replay for disputed homerun calls. So far, it has worked and does not take much time out of the game. Plus, how often do they have to go and look at replay? It doesn't seem like it happens that often. Some traditionalist baseball fans are opposed to instant replay, but I think it should be implemented into the game, but it should not overtake the integrity of the umpires and the calls they make. I think there should be a human element in the game, and umpires' mistakes are part of the game, no matter how heartbreaking they can be for a team. However, I think that the instant replay should occur only on the basepaths -- nothing with strikes/balls. I think that managers should be given 1 or 2 challenges per game and the decision to challenge should be acted on quickly. Obviously it's stupid if the managers use up their challenges on calls that don't alter the game, so I think they should be used sparingly. The manager would challenge a call, the umpires would go check it out on the TVs, and allow the call on the field to stand if they were correct, or change it if it wasn't. Simple as that. Hah. I would compare the implementation of technology in baseball to that of tennis. Tennis has a huge human element, with the chair umpire and linesmen making calls on whether or not balls are out. They obviously can make mistakes, with the balls being hit as hard as they are. I mean, players are serving at 130 mph and they have to make sure that the ball was in. In the grand slam events (except the French Open where they can see where the ball was hit because of the clay) they have allowed the players to have 3 challenges, so if they do not agree with a call, they can challenge and see if they were correct, then either win the point or replay it. So we will have to keep an eye out on what happens in the future for baseball. If we have the technology, we should use it, while not completely altering the game.

Anyway, enough of that. What's the state of the Yankees been like? Recently they were going through a tough stretch of games. They played a 2-game series against the Red Sox then another 2-game series against the Rays. They split the series against the Red Sox then got swept by the Rays. Actually, they had been on a tough stretch from May 7-May 28, facing the Red Sox, Tigers, Twins, Red Sox, Rays, Mets, & Twins. They won the first series against the Red Sox, lost the series to the Tigers, and won both series against the Twins, and lost the series to the Mets. Now they are going through an easier part of their schedule. They won 3 out of 4 against Cleveland and are just coming off of a sweep of the O's. Now they face the Jays, which will actually be pretty tough considering the Jays are still hanging around in the AL East (the AL East is the only division, except the NL West, that can boast of having 4 out of 5 teams being over .500) Even still, the Rockies are 3 games over .500. The Jays and Red Sox are each 7 games over .500, the Yankees 14 games, and the Rays 18 games. The Jays have good pitching and they can hit homeruns, that's for sure. Then the Yankees face the O's again, who just fired their manager Dave Trembley. They then face the lowly Astros.

ARod has been heating up with the weather. He's been hitting more homeruns and is up to 8 on the year. Robbie Cano has been unbelievable this season and is riding a 2010 major league best 17 game hitting streak. He has 12 homeruns on the season and is battling with Morneau for the best batting avg in the league. The Yankees' lineup is finally back to what it was at the beginning of the year, minus Nick Johnson. Curtis is back and has a hit in every single game since he's been back. Posada is back too, but has not caught yet. Nick Swisher has been hitting well since he's been back. LET'S GO YANKS!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

History Will Not Be Made

I was going to write a blog post about the Yankees, but in light of recent events I am going to put that off for a bit. I want to talk about the umpires in the MLB right now. I don't know if they're just blowing more calls, going on more power trips, or whatever this season but lately they have been awful. First, Joe West goes out and calls the Red Sox & Yankees pathetic and embarrassing and a "disgrace to baseball." Yeah, a couple of the best teams are truly embarrassing for the sport because they play 4 hour games. THAT'S THE BEAUTY OF BASEBALL. There isn't a time limit. You go out and play the game without clocks. I would understand him saying that the pace of the game needs to be picked up a bit and players should not take as long. But the fact that he calls out two teams was uncalled for. Even if he said "For example, the Yankees and Red Sox play long games that could be played quicker than they are" or something like that, I would not have been as mad.

Anyway, I won't get into that. Then, he goes and ejects Guillen & Buehrle after they got mad after two balks were called on Buehrle. On the first balk, Guillen goes out to talk to Joe West about what exactly he saw and to make sure Buehrle didn't go apeshit on West. He keeps talking, then gets tossed. Then West calls another balk on Buehrle. Buehrle throws his glove down in disgusts and gets tossed immediately! Guillen said West wants to control the game. He sure is completing that goal.
And now, tonight, Galarraga of the Detroit Tigers was pitching a perfect game. It was the 9th inning. He was 1 out away from making history, as well as throwing the THIRD perfect game of the young 2010 season. The 1st out of the 9th was made on a spectacular catch by Austin Jackson, and you could just feel it. This was going to be a perfect game. But then, Jason Donald grounds out to Miguel Cabrera and Galarraga rushes to the bag, catches the ball, and touches the base. He's out. But no, Jim Joyce throws his arms out to his side to indicate he's safe. I was in shock. Everyone in the stadium was in shock. Jason Donald was in shock. The perfect game was gone. Just like that. If it was a Yankees pitcher throwing a perfect game, I would've gone ballistic. Now, I'm not lumping Joyce in with the likes of Joe West. He didn't go crazy ejecting people out of the game for silly reasons. But, it's just another indication of the umpires making more and more blown calls (or so it seems). In this instance, the blown call is HUGE. It altered history. I know that seems dramatic and an overexaggeration, but it's not. Tigers fans are going to remember this. Baseball fans are going to remember this. Galarraga was incredibly classy after the game talking to the media. I would not have had the same reaction as him, so I give him props for remaining so calm and taking everything in stride. Jim Leyland also held his cool as well. I've always been a fan of Leyland, and this goes to show that he knows just what he's doing out there. I get that umpires want to get calls right, and if Donald had been safe, and Joyce had gotten the call right, I don't think people would be AS mad. I would still be mad because I think in that instance, on such a close play even if Donald had gotten there before Galarraga, you should still call it out. The guy was 1 out away from a perfect game. It was a close play, a half step close kind of play, and that call should not have been made. Joyce blew it. I am sure he feels awful, but you should not be making that kind of call on that kind of play in that sort of situation. Even seeing it from different angles, it's still hard to believe he thought the Donald was safe. He clearly was not. I know those kinds of plays are made quickly, but man! It's over with now, and nothing can be done to change what happened. The Tigers still won the game. Galarraga didn't make history tonight. Instead, history was ripped away from him in a split second.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

The Growing DL

It's only about a month or so away from summer -- when the season really starts to heat up. So far, the Yankees have been doing well with a 22-12 record, 2 games behind the first place Rays and the best team in baseball. However, this record indicates how well the Yankees are doing with a sudden bunch of injuries hitting the team. Chan Ho Park has been out for weeks, and may return Sunday. Curtis Granderson went down with a groin injury and will be out for at least a month -- he has not done any activity yet, so we will see if he will be returning the first week or so of June. Jorge Posada was out for a few games with a calf injury. Thankfully, Cervelli has been a GREAT back-up catcher - he's definitely one of my favorite Yankees now that Matsui is an Angel. He has great energy and emotion. He's great defensively and has gotten a lot of key hits! Mariano Rivera hadn't pitched since April 30 until he came into last night's game that originally was going to be a save until the Yankees scored 6 runs in the top of the 9th inning. (I have no problem with Mo getting some extra rest and we haven't needed him that much). Nick Swisher was out of today's game with sore biceps. ARod had -- I think a leg injury? Andy Pettite's last start was skipped because of inflammation around the elbow, but should return on Saturday to pitch. Alfredo Aceves is on the DL with a back issue. Nick Johnson is on the DL with an arm issue. Cano missed a game after being hit by Josh Beckett. We've had Winn/Thames platooning in left field since Curtis Granderson has been out. Winn is at least a veteran with some speed, but he isn't the greatest offensively. Thames is very good at left-handed pitching, but not the greatest defensively. Golson, Nova, Sanchez, Miranda, & Russo have all been called up to fill missing spots in the bullpen and lineup. So yep, the injury bug has hit the Yankees hard and they should be fortunate to have such a good record.

Hughes has been great for the Yankees and looks like an ace ... in the 5th spot in the rotation! Vazquez appeared to get over his pitching woes last time out -- going 7 innings while only giving up 2 runs. Pettite has been doing great until his injury. The offense, however, has struggled the last few games. They need to snap out of this rut as they go on to face a tough schedule. They play the Twins (22-12) at home tomorrow, the Red Sox (18-17) a 2-game series, then the Rays (24-10) a 2-game series. Then they go on the road to face the Mets (18-16) and the Twins again. They end the month at home with a 4-game series against Cleveland (13-19).

The upcoming homestand and roadtrip will show how much character this Yankees team has, especially without Park, Johnson, Granderson, and Aceves and the addition of a mixture of Triple-A callups and bench players. Let's hope for the best! Go Yanks!