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The Pirates-Giants game is EXACTLY what we want from instant replay

May 7, 2014, 9:37 AM EDT

Screen Shot 2014-05-07 at 9.35.58 AM AP

I love ESPN’s David Schoenfield — he’s been one of my favorite baseball writers for years and years — but I think he’s off the mark on his post from last night about the end of the Pirates-Giants game that ended with a walkoff instant replay ruling:

Here’s what I’m thinking after the end of the Giants-Pirates game that ended with Starling Marte called out at home plate and then called safe, giving the Pirates the not-so-dramatic walk-off reversal: Isn’t this exactly how we don’t want games to end? With a committee meeting?

I don’t like the flow interruption of replay challenges any more than Schoenfield does, but isn’t the entire point to get the calls right? And, even if those committee meetings can be grating on a random out call in the third inning, shouldn’t we have more tolerance for them — hell, even infinite tolerance for them — on calls that literally decide the game like the one in the Pirates-Giants game?

Indeed, one of the biggest blown calls of the past few years — a call that helped fuel the fire of instant replay as much as anything else — came on just such a call. What’s more, it came in a Pirates game! It even made the national news:

I’m all for nitpicking the mechanics of replay and sighing heavily at manager challenges, committee meetings and the like. But a game-deciding call like this is exactly the thing for which we want instant replay. If it postpones the Pirates’ celebration by a minute or two or, even worse, prevents a game that should be over from going on into extra innings, well, good.

  1. vanquish0916 - May 7, 2014 at 9:48 AM

    But it undermines the purity of the game! Just like the DH! And pitching overhand.

    • clydeserra - May 7, 2014 at 10:50 AM

      FOUL BALLS ARE STRIKES!?!?!?!?!?!!!?!?

      Alert McCann!

  2. sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - May 7, 2014 at 9:51 AM

    Anticlimactic correct win > dramatic incorrect win. And this is coming from a guy who loves drama.

    Galaragga threw a perfect game in what will probably be singular peak of his career, but Joyce blew the call. Sure, it would have been more exciting if he had gotten the call right and the whole team hugs etc, but to let it stand in the record book as one-hitter is just criminal. Talk about anti-climax!

    • normcash - May 7, 2014 at 2:59 PM

      Especially since it was a plus-perfect game—28 up; 28 down…

      • sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - May 7, 2014 at 3:32 PM

        True. If anything he deserves extra credit.

    • dcarroll73 - May 7, 2014 at 11:02 PM

      I think Joyce would wish that he could have been overruled by a replay. I remember that he made one of the classiest, most stand-up apologies that I have ever heard. We have all made mistakes in our jobs, but it takes real character and integrity to own up to it as he did.

  3. alangyo - May 7, 2014 at 9:51 AM

    How about instead of thinking that replay decided/ended the game, in actuality, the players, fairly and correctly, ended the game. It was because of how the Pirates played that they won.

    • gigab0t - May 7, 2014 at 9:58 AM

      I don’t think anyone’s handing the W to the replay computer here.

      • alangyo - May 7, 2014 at 10:09 AM

        Agreed- that said. The complaint seems to be that the game ended with replay. That’s not really the case. The game actually ended when Starling Marte scored–we just didnt notice.

        Marte and the PIrates ended the game, replay confirmed it. The handwringing that we dont want games to end this way is preposterous, because had the umpire got the call correct, everyone would have been fine with that ending…

      • jkcalhoun - May 7, 2014 at 10:28 AM

        Schoenfield’s argument seems to be that the review system shouldn’t be allowed to spoil in-the-moment walk-off drama, because with 162 games on the schedule there’s enough time for bad calls to go both ways and even themselves out.

        Of course there is never a guarantee that “bad breaks” will be counterbalanced by “good breaks”, but I think the better counterargument is to turn Schoenfield’s argument around: over the course of 162 games there’s also plenty of opportunity for walk-off drama. Even if you have to spoil a little of it occasionally in order to get a crucial call right, there’ll be another game tomorrow.

      • sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - May 7, 2014 at 3:35 PM

        calhoun, I would counter Schoenfield’s argument by saying that it is the umpire who spoiled the walk-off drama, and replay merely limited the damage of his error. Sure, it would have been better if he got it right in the first place, but at least they got it right.

      • jkcalhoun - May 7, 2014 at 7:28 PM

        Watching on TV, I thought he was out in real time and needed the replay to see that the glove didn’t make contact with him on the way down but only on his chest on the way back up, after his hand had reached the plate.

        If you want to say that the umpire was “wrong” not to see that in real time, don’t let me stop you. I’m not prepared to say that myself, however.

  4. DelawarePhilliesFan - May 7, 2014 at 9:53 AM

    These are the same growing pains the NFL had – people complained loudly when replay was new, and they actually succeeded in getting rid of it. Only the naysayers didn’t realize one thing – they didn’t get rid of replay, they got rid of using it to correct calls! Hence, it came back to the NFL.

    Eventually these people will realize they are trying to put the toothpaste back in the tube, and realize that they are arguing in favor of bad calls (and games decided incorrectly)

  5. happytwinsfan - May 7, 2014 at 9:54 AM

    We’ll really hear some howling the first time there’s a replay reversal of a walk off.

    • DelawarePhilliesFan - May 7, 2014 at 10:07 AM

      I still say Carters ’93 Home Run was foul

      • nbjays - May 7, 2014 at 1:47 PM

        Mitch Willams? Is that you?”

      • DelawarePhilliesFan - May 7, 2014 at 1:51 PM

        I’m Jim Eisenreich, nice to meet you 😉

      • sabatimus - May 7, 2014 at 2:17 PM

        Given a lot of his comments on MLB Network, I’m pretty sure not even Mitch Williams knows who Mitch Williams is.

    • clydeserra - May 7, 2014 at 10:53 AM

      Matt Holliday doesn’t know what you are talking about

      • sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - May 7, 2014 at 3:56 PM

        Joe Mauer does.

  6. jkcalhoun - May 7, 2014 at 9:54 AM

    No, the way I wanted that game to end is with the Giants having scored more runs than the Pirates. But in the course of 9 innings more Pirates really and truly reached home plate safely than Giants, and when that happens under the rules I think it’s appropriate to concede defeat, even if it takes the umpires a little extra time to figure it out.

  7. scoutsaysweitersisabust - May 7, 2014 at 10:05 AM

    Instead of thinking that replay ended the game, think that the Umpires didn’t incorrectly lengthen the game. I’m all for that.

  8. ctony1216 - May 7, 2014 at 10:17 AM

    The Dallas Morning News (Evan Grant) is keeping track of which umpires have the most/fewest calls overturned.

    Tim Timmons is almost perfect on six challenges, which is pretty amazing considering these are typically close plays and the managers can look at replays. Mark Ripperger and Bob Davidson get ’em wrong about half the time.

    • sabatimus - May 7, 2014 at 2:18 PM

      That must be why I didn’t even know Timmons was still umpiring :)

  9. Francisco (FC) - May 7, 2014 at 10:34 AM

    And the last Horcrux is destroyed. Jerry Meals will haunt the Pirates no longer.

  10. joewilliesshnoz - May 7, 2014 at 10:42 AM

    An umpire blew a call, you’re kidding ?

    • DelawarePhilliesFan - May 7, 2014 at 11:07 AM

      No it does happen. Just like this shocker:,102/

      Factual Error Found On Internet

      LONGMONT, CO—The Information Age was dealt a stunning blow Monday, when a factual error was discovered on the Internet. The error was found on, a Brady Bunch fan site that incorrectly listed the show’s debut year as 1968, not 1969.

    • grumpyoleman - May 7, 2014 at 11:23 AM

      That barely ranks as a blown call. Ultimately incorrect but you can’t expect anything better without using slow motion replay.

  11. mildfan - May 7, 2014 at 10:49 AM

    This is what replay is for!!!!!! It worked right finally so no crying about the correct call last night. As a Puckhead, we see it a lot in hockey, the suspense of the call is what draws the fan in at the end of the game

  12. pilonflats - May 7, 2014 at 12:13 PM

    he was out.

  13. dodger88 - May 7, 2014 at 12:43 PM

    David has already backed off some what:

    •OK, maybe I was wrong in dissing instant replay over the overturned call that gave the Pirates the win over the Giants. If there’s any reason for instant replay, it’s for a game-deciding play like that one. My larger point: One good (and important) call doesn’t take away from my replay likeability, and my gut feeling right now is it hasn’t won me over.

  14. gloccamorra - May 7, 2014 at 1:02 PM

    Everybody missed that last sentence:

    “If it … prevents a game that should be over from going on into extra innings, well, good.”


    We fans pay good money to see a game, and it goes by so quickly that extra innings is the only way to get our money’s worth, plus it gives us a good reason to call in sick the next day. And you’re opposed to that? Say it ain’t so!

  15. zdravit - May 7, 2014 at 1:26 PM

    I can’t even watch baseball now because of sh!t like this.

    • nbjays - May 7, 2014 at 1:49 PM

      Sucks to be you.

    • sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - May 7, 2014 at 4:01 PM

      Correct calls have ruined the game?

    • dcarroll73 - May 7, 2014 at 11:13 PM

      Care to define in understandable English “sh!t like this”? If it’s the delay of a few moments to get a game-deciding call right, then I guess my response is “What???” By the way I am a life-long Giants fan from when they had an NY on the cap, and I still want the right call.

  16. sabatimus - May 7, 2014 at 2:16 PM

    Yes, this was by far the most successful and appropriate use of replay I’ve ever seen. The problem is that it’s balanced out by all the mistakes, managerial jockeying (e.g. coming out onto the field to see if they MIGHT challenge a call by looking into their own dugout for a signal), and replay necessarily delaying the game.

    There’s a (slight) possibility that things will get ironed out, but for now, Earl Weaver is rolling over in his grave.

    • sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - May 7, 2014 at 4:02 PM

      I don’t think it is taking any longer than the previous version of managers arguing calls, then opposing managers arguing calls then umpires huddling to discuss then both managers arguing some more. The biggest difference now is that they get the call right more often.

      • sabatimus - May 7, 2014 at 9:34 PM

        But I ENJOY arguments!

      • sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - May 8, 2014 at 10:04 AM

        Then watch John Farrell. He argues every replay.

    • dcarroll73 - May 7, 2014 at 11:18 PM

      What you’re criticizing is the managerial challenge nonsense, not replay, and I think few on HBT would argue that. However, that having been said, Earl Weaver delayed more games for longer times over his career than replay ever will.

  17. granadafan - May 7, 2014 at 4:10 PM

    You know what disrupts the flow of the game? Managers making asses out of themselves arguing with umpires. Then there are the batters who readjust their batting gloves 4-5 times, helmet, belt, shoes, and step in and out of the box a couple times. Oh, the pitcher? Kick the rubber 10 times, take a few minutes to step back on the rubber, stare at the plate for an eternity shaking off the catcher, try/fake numerous pick offs, step off the rubber, etc. Try working on these first before blaming replay.

  18. dj4900 - May 7, 2014 at 4:47 PM

    Reblogged this on djohns4900.

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