Saturday, June 5, 2010
Can baseball be perfected? With my plan, yes it can.
"I just cost that kid a perfect game. I thought he beat the throw. I was convinced he beat the throw - until I saw the replay" -Jim Joyce
On June 2nd, in a baseball game between the Detroit Tigers and the Cleveland Indians, Tigers pitcher Armando Galarraga had a Perfect Game going until the last out of the game when First Base Umpire Jim Joyce mistakenly called runner Jason Donald safe after Donald hit a grounder to First Base. Replays showed that Galarraga, covering at first, got the throw from Miguel Cabrera and touched the base a stride ahead of Donald, but Joyce inexplicably called Donald safe. Galarraga retired the next batter for a one-hitter that should have been perfect.
Both men handled the situation with class. The incident is a paragon for sportsmanship. However, let's face it, things need to be changed to make this sort of mistake impossible. I hereby give Major League Baseball permission to use any and all of the following ideas to "perfect" a game that is losing viewers faster than BP is losing market shares.
The human element in baseball is responsible for the blown calls and mistakes. Get rid of them. No more Umpires or Referees. Ditch them.
In their place, use technology. Infrared sensors can be calibrated so that Balls and Strikes can be called with incredible accuracy. Hey, they have it in tennis, right? Well, okay they don't, but they should. I will get around to fixing tennis next week.
In every ballpark install crazy lights on the foul poles. When a ball flies between the poles they light up in whatever team colors of the hitter who hit the home run. If the ball hits the pole and goes foul, no lights. Hit it and it goes fair, LIGHTS!
How about when a runner slides into a base and the ball reaches the mitt/glove of the player covering that base at what appears to be the same time? Sensors in the base and mitt/glove are instantaneously beamed to somewhere and computers do whatever they do and lights or sounds or something go off if the runner is either safe or out. I am an idea man, not a details man. Someone needs to figure out exactly what happens with this one, but you get the idea. SENSORS!
A questionable catch by an outfielder? Did he trap the ball or legitimately catch it? How about sensors in the glove and ball? Some tech company out there specializing in sensors will reap quite a large pile of money if my plan goes through.
I can't think of any other problem that can't be fixed by sensors. And you baseball purists out there; your sport is dying. Attendance is down, kids are watching football and basketball. The games take 3 days to finish. So don't get all huffy about my proposed changes. Your game is decided in ballparks in which the dimensions are not the same, the distances to Left, Right, and Center fields, etc. One league has a Designated Hitter, the other doesn't. The park in Seattle has a frigging HILL in the field, and you're gonna tell me this game is fair? Football and basketball games are played, universally, on fields and courts where the dimensions and rules are always the same. So embrace my sensors. EMBRACE MY SENSORS!
And give the kid, Galarraga, his perfect game. Don't let him be the only player in history to get 28 outs in a single game.
This post was inspired by a conversation I had on the Twitter with @twin2tim a great guy who helped me see the passion he has for the things he loves, baseball and human error being among them.