Instant. Replay. Now.

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Joyce blown call.jpgWe’ve all seen it. We can’t un-see it. And because we’ve seen it — and because we’ll watch it over and over again for the next 48 hours or longer — we know it’s wrong. But baseball won’t see it. Not officially. Baseball has decided against the expansion of instant replay beyond home run calls.

Why? They had some reasons. Some of them even sounded reasonable. I can’t remember them though, because they all disappeared during the step and a half it took Jason Donald to touch first base after he should have been out number 27 in tonight’s non-perfect game.

Because there is no replay, Jim Joyce’s obviously blown call stands, Armando Galarraga lost a perfect game, and I can’t for the life of me think of any justification for that.  It would take too much time? Hell, the Dodgers and Diamondbacks played a four hour and sixteen minute game this afternoon. We all handled it. Some of us actually enjoyed it. Because of umpire egos? Sorry, between Joyce’s blown call and everything else that has happened in the last couple of weeks, they’ve lost the right to complain.

It is absolutely imperative that baseball implement some form of replay now. This season, before the playoffs.  The best way, in my view, is to simply station a fifth umpire in the official scorer’s box. Give him the same feed the broadcast guys have. Give him a buzzer and, when an obviously bad call like this one happens, have him call down to the crew chief and overturn the call.  In practice it won’t take long. In function it will be no different than an on-the-field conference in which calls are changed every day.  There is no reason this can’t work and there’s no reason it shouldn’t be implemented.

Take your “human element” and stuff it, mister.  The human element got it wrong. The human element cost Galarraga his place in history.  The human element just thrust Jim Joyce into infamy. I don’t think either of those fellows are where they want to be right now, and there’s no human reason on Earth why it has to be this way.

Bud Selig: you have no choice. You have the power. Implement instant replay now.

Rick Ankiel drank vodka before a start to deal with the yips

9 Apr 2000: Rick Ankiel #66 of the St. Louis Cardinals winds back to pitch the ball during the game against the Milwaukee Brweers at the Busch Stadium in St. Louis, Missouri. The Cardinals defeated the Brewers 11-2. Mandatory Credit: Elsa Hasch  /Allsport
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The story of Rick Ankiel is well known by now. He was a phenom pitcher who burst onto the scene with the Cardinals in 1999 and into the 2000 season as one of the top young talents in the game. Then, in the 2000 playoffs, he melted down. He got the yips. Whatever you want to call it, he lost the ability to throw strikes and his pitching career was soon over. He came back, however, against all odds, and remade his career as a solid outfielder.

It’s inspirational and incredible. But there is a lot more to the story that we’ve ever known. We will soon, however, as Ankiel is coming out with a book. Today he took to the airwaves and shared some about it. Including some amazing stuff:

On drinking in his first start after the famous meltdown in Game One of the 2000 National League division series against the Braves:

“Before that game…I’m scared to death. I know I have no chance. Feeling the pressure of all that, right before the game I get a bottle of vodka. I just started drinking vodka. Low and behold, it kind of tamed the monster, and I was able to do what I wanted. I’m sitting on the bench feeling crazy I have to drink vodka to pitch through this. It worked for that game. (I had never drank before a game before). It was one of those things like the yipps, the monster, the disease…it didn’t fight fair so I felt like I wasn’t going to fight fair either.”

Imagine spending your whole life getting to the pinnacle of your career. Then imagine it immediately disintegrating. And then imagine having to go out and do it again in front of millions. It’s almost impossible for anyone to contemplate and, as such, it’s hard to judge almost anything Ankiel did in response to that when he was 21 years-old. That Ankiel got through that and made a career for himself is absolutely amazing. It’s a testament to his drive and determination.

 

Justin Turner talks “Easy D”

CHICAGO, IL - OCTOBER 22:  Justin Turner #10 of the Los Angeles Dodgers warms up prior to game six of the National League Championship Series against the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field on October 22, 2016 in Chicago, Illinois.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
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A couple of weeks ago our president wrote one of his more . . . vexing tweets. He was talking about immigration when he whipped out the phrase . . . “Easy D”:

No one was quite sure what he meant by Easy D. Was it the older brother of N.W.A.’s founder? The third sequel to that Emma Stone movie from a few years back? So many questions!

Baseball Twitter had fun with it, though, with a lot of people wondering how they could work it in casually to their commentary:

It wasn’t a scout who did it, but twelve days after that, a player obliged Mr. McCullough:

I have no more idea what Turner was talking about with that than Trump was. We’ll have to wait for the full story in the L.A. Times. But I am going to assume Turner was doing McCullough a solid with that one rather than commenting on the president’s tweet. Either way, I’m glad he made the effort.

And before you ask: yes, it’s a slow news day.