Wednesday, August 01, 2012

Bud Selig: Mayor Of Shark City

Remember in Jaws when the chief had finally had enough of the shark attacks and basically forced the mayor to sign the contract that would allow Quint to kill the shark? I feel like we're at that point with instant replay in the Majors. The home run replay thing was the 24-hour beach closure. But it isn't enough. It's 2012. This shark must be stopped. We have the ability to tell what happened on every play by using technology that's been around for almost two hundred years. But we don't use it! The idea of a "photo finish" in various typed of racing sports has been around since cameras were invented. By 1882, people were saying races would soon be decided by the camera. And for decades now in those sports, cameras have been used to determine--when the human eye can't--who won. And nobody's complaining. (The 1912 Olympics used a camera. Hialeah race track had photo finishes in 1936.)

When cameras came into use in racing, the debate started in baseball circles, too. Here's an AP story I found from 1935:

Three-quarters of a century later, the stubborn are still not backing down. Dinosaur Joe Torre said in a NYT story last month:

The game isn’t perfect. For all of us that want everything to be right all the time, it’s not going to the case no matter how much replay we do. I don’t know why we want everything to be perfect, because it’s just not a perfect game, it really isn’t. Life isn’t perfect. I think this is a game of life.

When Joe Torre's brother needed a new heart, did Joe say, "Hey, life isn't perfect. If your heart doesn't work, there's nothing we can do for you."? Of course not. Frank got a heart transplant, and 16 years later, he's still around (with help from his daughter, who also refused to let life's imperfections get in the way of making it a better place, donating a kidney to her father).

While it's nice to hear a former employee of George Steinbrenner admitting that you can't have everything in life, I'd still prefer we do everything in our power to get the calls right. Let's leave the "human element" to the players, and the life reflections to the poets, Joe.

Amen, brother.
I can't think of another point in any life where it's ok to keep making mistakes, even though you have a way to fix them, just because you've always made mistakes. Do engineers not use a calculator when designing a bridge because making mistakes doing the math by hand is just the way it's always been? No. Do doctors not use x-rays because making mistakes by just poking around is the way it's always been? No.

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