Our friend Old Gator has made a disturbing (or refereshing, depending on your point of view) transition into lucidity since the season started. This morning he had some interesting things to say about the whole replay thing. The upshot: bad calls by umpires are plays that happen in games just like groundouts and unassisted triple plays. And that baseball is better for it:
In short, the blown call transforms the game from some boring and invariable Newtonian process to a Heisenbergian quantum universe wherein anything can and does happen, sometimes simultaneously. God doesn’t play dice with the universe? Well, it’s been proven that he does. Umpires should inflect our cutting edge knowledge of the universe and play dice with the game.
That quote is a bit cute, sure, but I think Gator is serious in his umpires-are-part-of-the-fabric-of-the-game argument and the couple of paragraphs before the blockquote actually make a pretty good case for it. Not sure if I buy it, but I think what Gator is on about is what people are really referring to when they talk about “the human element.” I usually dismiss that argument, but I think I do that mostly because it’s not a typically well-constructed argument. Gator does better with it.