Wezen-Ball may be the first person to ever post the You Tube video of the opening to Game 3 of the 1989 World for a reason other than the earthquake. He posts it to show a really bad umpire’s call: Dave Parker being called safe at second in Game 2 when he was clearly out by a Buster Poseyian distance.
lar’s point is a good one: no big deal was made of it at the time. Not because it wasn’t an egregiously bad call. It clearly was. But because the means didn’t really exist for people to raise a fuss. It was 1989. The people who had a connection to the Internet then could probably fit in a single-A ballpark. If you wanted to moan about the call, you had to wait until the next morning and do it with coworkers at the water cooler or mimeograph machine or whatever kind of ancient technology populated offices back in 1989.
But I don’t think the lesson to take from this, though, is “there have been bad calls forever, so we should all stop complaining.” The lesson should be that bad calls today are different than bad calls 20 years ago. Not in their nature, but in their effect. The new technology that allows for instant complaining about things that have always happened may be annoying to the umpires and the league, but it has a real effect on fan sentiment. If we get a bad enough bad call — or if they simply continue to pile up like they have been — eventually it will cause fans to question the legitimacy of the competition. Or at the very least the reliability of the officiating. Such a dynamic could cause viewership to erode and the product to be damaged. This, more than anything else, is the argument for expanded replay in baseball.