MLB There Can Be Only One FIFA

Instant Replay

Vinny Testaverde scores a Phantom Touchdown

MLB There Can Be Only One FIFA
The Major League Baseball 2011 season is about to begin and it got me to thinking Sports Techie about instant replay. There can be only one FIFA in terms of not using technology and instant replay to assist in getting the calls right, however, there is room for MLB.

Instant Replay Review
Let’s review a few things about the history of instant replay history in sports. Then we need to give credit to the NFL who made some good decisions recently in regards to the use of instant replay for the better of the game of football.

Phantom Touchdown
I was part of Seattle Seahawks history in 1998 while working for Sports 2000 maintaining and supporting the revolutionary GridIron 2000 Expert System used for game planning which was Microsoft Windows 95 based.

This was the year when NY Jets QB Vinny Testaverde’s “Phantom Touchdown” blown call by referee Phil Luckett was made that may have been the root cause of the NFL’s decision to finally implement instant replay for good. Read about it here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_the_Seattle_Seahawks and scroll down to 1996-98: Paul Allen takes over.

(Watch these videos I post in this blog ASAP as I am shadowed by YouTube, MLB, FIFA and the NFL, so they will get blocked.)

FIFA
Let your mind go back to World Cup 2010 in South Africa. FIFA President Sepp Blatter made an incompetent decision to not allow any discussion of technology like instant replay to be used in the lovely game of soccer because it was flawed and too expensive, except for talk about goal-line reviews. No question about it Sepp, you opened up a can of worms by allowing only goal-line reviews to be discussed because it reared its ugly head during the Germany vs. England game. Check it out here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6ZGsaVzE4CA

MLB
Now that your mind is open, go back and remember last season when pitcher Armando Galarraga’s near Perfect game for the Detroit Tigers was clearly blown by a MLB umpires bad call. In fact, according to an ESPN survey of 40 Hall of Fame players, 15 out of the 40 surveyed changed their mind about using instant replay after this incident. See this new video by Hillside Pictures which is telling, talks about the survey and is a must see: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z6ZDVWzZTGo

NFL
The NFL first began using instant replay in 1986 until 1992. They started using Harris Corporation HD systems in 1999 to once again allow for an improved process of scanning, panning and freeze framing video to assist with getting calls correct: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WDEFfpdzfvE

The NFL just voted to allow for automatic replay of all scores, same as in College football. Bravo National Football League. You may be about to kill the 2011 season with a strike but at least you got this right.

Additionally, NFL coaches now have three instant replay challenges available per game. To be awarded the third challenge, the first two must be called in your favor, if that happens, you are granted another one.

Read about the rule changes at NFLLabor.com: http://nfllabor.com/2011/03/22/competition-committee-press-conference-transcript/

Video Reviewer
One thing the NFL, the NCAA and all sports needs to do is upgrade the person responsible for video reviews. I am not sure what some of these people are looking at after review, what the video shows is obvious.

Here is a good example of just such a terrible review involving current Seahawks player Brandon Stokely when he was with the Denver Broncos: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C3H3o_Oi4H4

University of Washington football fans you will remember this horrible call that went your way against Oregon State. See: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-O1QGjGFYlg

Conclusion
In summation, we live in an era when technology has matured enough and gone down in price to be able to assist officials, umpires and league officials with conclusive evidence that allows for the correct call to be made, in spite of human error.

In fact, take the Professional tennis challenge system that began in 2006. A player is granted three instant replay challenges with the assistance of Hawkeye technology per set. That is now part of the overall game strategy as to when to use your challenges during play because once they are exhausted you are at the mercy of the linesman’s initial call.

The same could be said for NFL football today. How many times have you tossed your remote control at the TV when a coach makes a terrible game management decision to review a call and then does not have one left over at the end of the game when you really need a challenge to help you win the game?

My advice to these coaches, start playing and training with football video games so you will have experience with all kind of scenarios, not just the 16 regular season games a year. Play 200 EA Sports Madden football games in a month and you will better understand when to toss that challenge flag and when not to.

MLB, yes, there is only one FIFA, but there is plenty of room for you this year. Please implement more instant replay into the game of baseball and integrate advanced technology to assist your umpires with getting the calls right, yesterday. Home run reviews was an excellent beginning and showed that you get it, but why start and stop there? According to the ESPN survey noted above, one out of five MLB umpire calls are wrong. Can you live with that Commissioner Selig because Sports Techie cannot?

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I will see ya when I see ya, Sports Techie, Twitter @sportstechieNET.

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