The manager who had probably the most to gain last October if there had been instant replay likes the idea that baseball is considering ways to implement it -- but only if it's limited in scope.
San Diego's Bud Black, whose Padres lost a crushing one-game playoff in Colorado last Oct. 1 -- they still swear in San Diego that Matt Holliday never touched the plate on that slide home -- gives the idea a cautious yes.
"I think there is some merit to it," Black says. "There's some merit to reviewing boundary plays, absolutely. Balls on the wall, at the foul pole, possibly even balls over the bag.
"I don't know about on the bases quite yet. I think umpiring is a big part of the game. I think the human element is still attractive to this game."
I'm inclined to agree with Black. I've never been in favor of instant replay -- partly because I don't want to see the games slowed down anymore than they already are, and partly because I think the umpires hit on a far higher percentage of calls than they miss.
But the way some of these new ballparks are designed, with outfield walls breaking and jutting at funky angles, it's become extremely difficult to tell a home run from ball off of the wall. And while some umpires maybe don't hustle to get out there for a good look, it's an impossible task: Even the ones who do hustle don't possibly have enough time to get back to the wall for an up-close look.
No way, though, can there be full instant replay, or games will never finish. Can you imagine if every called strike is reviewed?
"Do you argue every play?" Black asks. "Do you throw a flag if you want a review? Do you lose an out if you ask for a review and you're wrong?
"There would have to be some strict structure."
Likes: Ken Griffey Jr. now at 598 home runs, closing in on becoming only the sixth big leaguer ever to reach the 600 mark. And almost certainly the first since Willie Mays to do it clean. ... Arizona's Doug Davis set to rejoin the Diamondbacks' rotation Friday night following thyroid cancer surgery earlier this season. ... The current GQ article on Journey looking to come back strong with a new lead singer. Leads me to wonder if Steven Perry's final public appearances will have been with the White Sox as they were winning the 2005 World Series to the theme song Don't Stop Believin'. ...
Dislikes: American Airlines now charging $15 for the first bag you check. Every time you step near an airport now, the airlines nickel and dime you. Two bucks for checking a bag curbside. Twenty-five or more bucks if you want to change from a middle seat to an aisle seat on Northwest. Gouge, gouge, gouge. Just like at the gas pump. Every time you wake up anymore, there's more bad economic news.
Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day:
"There is no pain, you are receding
"A distant ship's smoke on the horizon
"You are only coming through in waves
"Your lips move, but I can't hear what you're sayin'"
-- Pink Floyd, Comfortably Numb