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Another Controversial Call in Baseball Ignites Instant Replay Discussions [VIDEO]

Just when we thought we could make it a whole summer without a controversial call in a key spot……..THIS HAPPENED!!

Last year it was Armando Gallaraga’s ‘perfect game’ that incited outraged fans to demand instant replay in baseball.  The purists stuck to their guns and insisted the ‘human element’ has been and should always be part of baseball.

Last night in Atlanta, the Braves and Pirates made it to the bottom of the 19th inning tied at three.  With one out in the 19th, and a runner on third, Braves pitcher Scott Proctor hit a sharp grounder to Pirates third baseman Pedro Alvarez.  Alvarez came home, and his throw beat Julio Lugo by a good five feet. Pirates catcher Michael McKenry appeared to make a swipe tag on Lugo.

Routine play, right?  Home plate umpire Jerry Meals never saw a tag and called Lugo safe when he finally touched the plate.  Thanks to MLB Extra Innings and my gluttony for punishment, I saw this play live on television.  It was a terrible way for a hard fought 19 inning game to end, and I knew Wednesday morning would bring a ton of national discussion.

Unlike the Gallaraga play, this one wasn’t as cut and dry.  The throw beat Lugo to the plate by a good five feet, but Meals told reporters he never saw a tag applied.  He then admitted after looking at the replay McKenry may have tagged Lugo on the shin.

Julio Lugo of the Braves appeared to be tagged out by the Pirates Michael McKenry, but umpire Jerry Meals called Lugo safe. (Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images)

I’ve seen the replay from every angle and in every speed.  At first glance, the call looks like a no brainer.  However, after seeing a reverse angle, it appears as if McKenry applied an ‘ole’ tag.  This was a case where the call on the field would have stood because there was no conclusive evidence either way.

For the record I am in favor of replay for home runs and plays at the plate.  Purists will argue the games are already long enough, and the ‘human element’ is integral to baseball.  Purists are also fear mongers who insist that MLB will start with home runs and plays at the plate and end with using machines to determine balls and strikes.  That will never happen!  Even though the NFL will review every scoring play in 2011, penalties will still be subjective calls by the officials.

At the end of the day, I would hope purists and casual fans want the same thing; THE RIGHT CALL!



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