News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Opinion Columns

August 24, 2013

RONN MOTT: Baseball and the 21st century

I wasn’t surprised that baseball has finally consented to instant replay. A manager of a baseball team will have three opportunities during the length of the game to utilize the instant replay. I don’t know all of the ins and outs, but it does show some progress. We’ve had umpire bloopers that have been historic in the last few years of baseball.

Now, it does appear that some of those can be recalled and made right because of instant replay. Hooray, hooray!

Now if Major League Baseball, in its ancient wisdom, can get those things corrected, perhaps there’s a chance for the strike zone to be accurate at every ball park, at every game and with every umpire.

However, don’t hold your breath and hope because you’ll choke if you do.

When you consider how long baseball has been a professional entity, it has done very well with the changes it has made.

I suppose you could say organized baseball has made enough changes just to keep it going. That is, not too much and not too little, but it certainly isn’t for me to say, “Just right.”  

Up in Chicago, they’re going to spend a ton of money modernizing Wrigley Field and they swear they’re going to do it while keeping the basic look of the vine-covered walls that make up this old stadium. It’s almost like a hallowed church, or temple or cathedral … managing to make it more comfortable, make it more modern, and yet to the jaundiced eye of the true baseball fan, not too many changes.

So it goes. This is a step forward into the 21st Century and hopefully it will not slow down this already rather slow sporting event. Some wag wrote years ago that baseball was played in three hours so you could witness 10 minutes of action.

Well, you don’t hear, “Kill the umpire!” anymore. You can’t even turn around, if you’re a player, and say, “You’re blind as a bat!” So maybe now we’ll yell out, “The recording is wrong!” or “Technically disruptive!” or simply, “Blooey!”

Some progress is better than no progress, so let’s hope this new technical usage of recording will keep a pitcher from losing a perfect game. If memory serves, it happened recently in the last couple of years.

Perhaps instant replay will be a good thing for baseball.

Ronn Mott, a longtime radio personality in Terre Haute, writes commentaries for the Tribune-Star. His pieces are published online Tuesday and Thursday on Tribstar.com, and in the print and online editions on Saturday.

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