October 8th, 2010
10:31 AM ET

Stolen base, stolen chance: Why instant replay is a must


Buster Posey slides into home to give the Giants a 1-0 lead -- which might not have happened if baseball had instant replay.


The San Francisco Giants Buster Posey steals second base in the fourth inning of Thursday night’s National League Division Series playoff against the Atlanta Braves.

Two batters later, Posey slides safely into home on a single by Cody Ross, providing the deciding run in the Giants 1-0 win.

Glory to Posey, right? The rookie’s first-career stolen base puts him in position to score the winning in Game 1 of the playoffs.

Wrong! Posey was out at second. Television replays showed that second base umpire Paul Emmel missed the call.

MLB.com: Watch the questionable stolen base call

Even Posey knew it. "I guess it's a good thing we don't have instant replay right now,” he said after the game.

Emmel’s blown call is just the latest in a litany of game-changing officiating errors in pro sports in 2010 – errors that could be corrected if the powers that be realize what century we’re in and use instant replay.

Emmel’s call cost the Braves the game, or at least a chance to get away from Tim Lincecum and a shot at the Giants bullpen in extra innings.

Justice prevailed earlier in the baseball playoffs, but just barely.

In the ninth inning Wednesday night in Minnesota, New York Yankees outfielder Greg Golson trapped a sinking line drive from the Twins’ Delmon Young. At least that’s how right-field umpire Chris Guccione saw it. Instant replay showed it differently – a clear catch by Golson.

With Young on base, the tying run in a 6-4 game came to the plate in the person of slugger Jim Thome. Luckily for the Yankees – and the integrity of the game – Thome, who had 25 homers this season, popped out to the end game.

Other bad calls have cropped up in the baseball playoffs but none so blatant as the one that cost Detroit Tigers pitcher Armando Galarraga a perfect game in June.

Instant replay showed the ball clearly beats the Cleveland Indians Luke Donald to first base to seal baseball immortality for Galarraga – only 20 perfect games have ever been thrown.

First base umpire Jim Joyce thought he made the right call. "I thought he beat the throw. I was convinced he beat the throw, until I saw the replay,” Joyce said after the game.

Joyce or Guccione or Emmel shouldn’t have been put in these positions. Baseball has the technology. Why not make it right?

Of course, America’s pastime isn’t alone in its rejection of modern technology. Just ask Frank Lampard and England’s national soccer team.


Frank Lampard's shot his the crossbar and on replay showed it well past the goal line.


The midfielder’s clear goal against Germany – replay showed it well past the goal line – wasn’t allowed, denying England what could have been a momentum-swinging tying goal just before halftime and maybe a chance to stop their German arch-rivals. Germany eventually won that one 4-1.

Hey baseball and soccer, why not take a lesson from the National Football League, where replay rules? And gets it right. Maybe.

Ask the Detroit Lions. Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson appeared to catch a game-winning touchdown pass with seconds left in a game against the Chicago Bears in September. The official on the field initially called it a touchdown. But after an on-field and replay review, the officials concluded that Johnson did not control the ball through the end of the play, the TD was disallowed and the Lions lost.

That one made no sense to me, but at least it did to Lions’ coach Jim Schwartz. "The rule is if you are going to the ground in the process of making the catch, you need to finish with the football. And we didn't finish with the football," he said.

Can’t argue with the coach, I guess. Watch and learn, baseball.

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Filed under: Sports
soundoff (154 Responses)
  1. DenverRedsFan

    You sure do have a lot of opinions about it for a sports hater. Is that what you do? Focus on changing things you hate but don't understand? Are you in Congress?

    October 8, 2010 at 5:47 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Lawrence S.

    Well look at it this way, expecting perfection out of such an imperfect society, am i the only one who sees the irony.

    October 10, 2010 at 3:27 am | Report abuse |
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