This Is The One Flaw Of Instant Replay | Sports Takes & News | TooAthletic.com
The ending of the 2021 New York Mets home opener was all the talk on social media after an umpire admitted after the game he made a mistake, and the replay system used by MLB proved to be flawed. That’s because as hard as every sport will try, they will never be able to have instant replay reveal intent, and when intent is built into the rule book, judgement calls will always be part of the games.
The Mets just won on a walk-off hit-by-pitch.
The Marlins tried to argue that Michael Conforto leaned into the pitch, but that is not reviewable. pic.twitter.com/TMYrO80odM
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) April 8, 2021
Thursday afternoon saw the Mets Michael Conforto at the play in the bottom of the ninth inning with the bases loaded and the score tied at two. Conforto was facing a 2-2 count against Miami Marlins’ pitcher Anthony Bass when the Mets’ outfielder guessed wrong. Bass dropped a slider into the strike zone, presumable for the strike out with the catcher able to have the ball land in his glove. Conforto, however, managed to lean over home plate and have the ball gently graze his elbow, creating a hit-by-pitch, earning a trip to first base in a walk-off win. Being able to plainly see from the third base dugout what happened, Marlins’ manager Don Mattingly cried foul, saying that Conforto leaned into the pitch and should have been called out. When asked about the final pitch after the game, home plate umpire Ron Kulpa said to the media, “The guy was hit by the pitch in the strike zone, I should have called him out.”
According to the rules of Major League Baseball, a replay review can be used to determine if a batter was hit by a pitch, but it cannot, however, be used to review if a batter was hit by a pitch in the strike zone. It also cannot be used to determine a batter’s intend to lean into a pitch or if he did not make an effort to avoid getting hit by the pitch. This means Michael Conforto did something he knew he’d probably be able to get away with if no one noticed in real time, and by doing so, would help his team win a baseball game.
So, he cheated.
One of the major flaws in using instant replay is ascertaining intent. While everyone seems to agree that Michael Conforto went “Bad News Bears” on the game’s final pitch Thursday and leaned into, without the call being made correctly with the naked eye, it is hard to overturn what the umpires saw during live action.
For the home plate umpire Ron Kulpa, once he saw a batter get hit by a pitch and had his knowledge of the pitch being a strike overwhelmed, the game was over, figuratively and literally. This would have been one of those moments when you would have hoped Kulpa would have paused before making a call since, after all, the ball was dead, and he would have had a moment to confer with another umpire to ask what they saw. I would believe that in perfect world the third base umpire would have had a good view of what Conforto did, and could have said to his crew mates the batter did lean into over the plate, helping the right call to be made.
Once sports leagues opened pandora’s box that is instant replay, then the expectation of fans and players to get every call right became a reasonable one. The problem with that expectation is intent is rarely something that shows up on even the biggest of 4K Ultra High-Definition televisions, and is even less likely to be enough to overturn a call on the field. It will be this flaw that continually haunts every league; and as leagues go headlong into embracing sports wagering, this flaw will become more and more pronounced as dollars change hands on every call and missed call that replay cannot fix.
As a result, Michael Conforto will be allowed to cheat in front of thousands of fans, with no one able to do the right thing by stopping him and making the right call … which is why instant reply is only another way of saying instant disaster, because imagine if one of these teams wins or loses a playoff spot by one game at the end of the season or a draft pick is decided by one game next spring? That call may be a lot bigger than it looks in the second week in April, and everyone involved in that game Thursday walked off the field knowing the wrong call was madem, but did nothing about it.
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This Is The One Flaw Of Instant Replay | TooAthletic.com
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