George Will grudgingly endorses replays for home runs here. I can see how replays of every disputed call would slow down the game (which is already too slow), but I just don’t buy the idea that it’s a great boon to the game to have mistaken calls. In fact, I favor an even more grandiosely perfectionist technological fix: lasers for the strike zone. Set them on the back of the two sides of the plate and determine the lower and upper limit of each player’s zone at the beginning of the season, and no one need waste time arguing balls and strikes.
(I haven’t been so enthusiastic about a reform of sports since my proposal for a separate section for cow-bell ringers in hockey arenas….)
A friend e-mails:
Jacques Barzun argued that the reason why “”Whoever would understand the heart and mind of America had better learn baseball,” is that the aesthetic rhythms of the game are a kind of public cultural ritual. Hi-tech strike zone regularization happens behind the scenes, and hi-tech “boundary call” reviews only tinker with the ritual at the margins. But fully automating the strike zone encroaches on the rhythm of every pitch, and would rob us of that regular moment of drama between the thud in the catcher’s mitt and the motion of the umpire’s arm. Robots are our friends, but they shouldn’t preside over our cultural rituals.