Letter to the Editor
This letter is in response to the letter “Fad for Perfection.”
I had the honor and privilege to umpire at the Little League Baseball World Series (LLBWS) in Williamsport, Pa., this past summer. What a memorable experience it was to be there with 15 other umpires from around the world, 16 teams that represented the best in their region or country and the loud, polite fans. I also had the privilege to umpire the Little League Challenger Division game. It is something I will never forget.
To be honest as I told a local newspaper reporter, I was not in favor of instant replay, because I felt baseball is an imperfect game, played by imperfect human beings, and umpired by imperfect human beings. However, then Little League said we were going to use it in certain situations, and in reviewing the documentation and the rationale they provided I felt it was workable.
I also had the dubious distinction to be the first umpire to have a call overturned (my timing was poor on the call at first base) and am now the answer to a Trivial Pursuit question.
Was it tough to have that call overturned? Yes, it was because as Mr. Dimicelli says, we all strive to be perfect from the outset and try to get better as the game progresses. However, I put my ego aside and worked to stay focused because you never know when a banger will come your way again. Later in the game, it did come and the challenge showed I got the call correct.
As far as taking too much time, I think the time for replay was about 40 seconds, which is less than the time for the commercial breaks at the end of each half inning. Instant replay is a tool to help us and not a fad like mood rings or Nehru jackets.
I believe it is far better to have a call overturned and get a little razzing than have to live with the fact a call may have cost a team a game in the LLBWS, or in the case of this summer in MLB, a pitcher a perfect game. That burden would be far tougher to carry around. Just because these players are 12 years old, or we are volunteer umpires, doesn’t change this.
Instant replay has been around since the 60s and has been used in pro sports since the early 90s, so I don’t think it is a fad. We need to embrace it just like we did when handheld calculators first appeared and slide rules became a relic.
League City, Texas