Video Review: The Ultimate Blown Call

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NHL RefereesIf your child wants to become a hockey referee (or any on-field rule enforcer) when they grow up, the future is not too bright for them. Technology will soon be determining goals scored, penalties, balls & strikes, etc. for you. Major League Baseball recently instituted additional rules in order to expand the use of video replay in regular-season and post-season games. Getting the call right use to be the mantra for instant replay but here’s why proponents of video review really want it in the game: humans can’t do the job anymore. They say the game is going too fast for on-field officials to keep up. It makes you wonder if humans are becoming better physically and much more intelligent how come there’s an increasing call for video review?

It is not just because the flow of the game will slow down to a crawl, I have maintained that the more video review is implemented the more officials will become complacent thus the game will suffer as a result. Having been in the radio business for over 15 years, I can tell you that the medium hasn’t been the same since computers replaced CDs and live jocks. The best eyes are the ones seeing the action directly and not through a camera lens or TV screen. And the best position to make a correct call is on the field of play, not several feet away from it. Hell, if it is better to officiate from afar sports leagues might as well outsource their refereeing to a company in Japan. At least they have the technology to do the job.

While I don’t like to rely on video replay to determine the fate of the game, referees and umpires today are not helping matters. Over the course of the last number of years, they have repeatedly missed infractions and at the same time made quite a number of phantom calls, and most have happened in important games. Those ones are so obvious that they don’t require video review. I remember umpire Jim Joyce looking right at first base clearing blowing a call that cost Tiger’s pitcher Armando Galarraga a perfect game in 2010. But to Joyce’s credit, he admitted after the game that he missed it and felt very sorry about it. There should be more people like Joyce in sports but it seems referees and umpires are either very smug and elitist and feel they are more important than the players we pay to see, or they are hesitant to admit their mistakes for fear of reprimand by the league or retribution from their peers. Mind you, if you are an umpire working a Blue Jays game in Toronto, fear of retribution from media and fans is non-existent as evident on June 10, 2013 versus Texas.

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