All photos of Wrigley Field available on Flickr.
Pressured by general managers due to many controversial calls in the past few years, Major League Baseball became the final of the four major American sports to approve the use of instant replay in certain situations last Thursday. It will be used in a limited fashion, only for boundary calls to help determine whether a homerun was fair/foul, over the wall or not, or interfered with by a fan. As of today, it has not yet been used in a game, although there were a couple of close calls that certainly warranted its use; umpires are clearly apprehensive about being the first to use it.
I personally have mixed feelings on this issue. The baseball purist side of me is still angry that the American League uses the DH, and now this? What's next, plays at first? Or God forbid, balls and strikes? This will make a long game even longer and opens the doors to increasing replay usage in the future for other types of calls. I think a better solution would have been to station an extra 2 umpires in the outfield, like in the playoffs. The logical, progressive side of me is happy to see baseball finally "getting with the times." The important thing is to get the call right in all these new & complicated ballparks, no matter how long it takes, so long as it doesn't interfere with the umpire's normal job. If the umpire can't tell if it's a homerun or not, there's no sense in guessing just for the sake of having to make a call, and you might as well use the technology if it's there. I wouldn't mind seeing a "flag" system like in football, where each manager gets something like two challenges a game. There are just as many important plays that occur at first base, or trapped/caught balls in the outfield that have just as much bearing on a game as a homerun. As long as it's never used for balls and strikes, I'll be alright with instant replay.
Shifting gears, I got to go to Wrigley Field on Saturday to boo the Cubs. My brother hadn't been there since he was about 8, and his girlfriend had never been, so we all took the train down there for the day. The Cubs lost 5-2 to the Phillies, and our section was at least half Philadelphia fans, so wearing my Chase Utley jersey didn't result in me getting full cans of Old Style thrown at me, as originally feared. Ryan Howard hit a homerun, and Jayson Werth went 3-4 with 2 bombs to left. Brett Myers pitched outstanding in the win, and Theodore Roosevelt Lilly got the loss. It was an awesome day for baseball, it was on national television, and the train ride was really quick and cheap, so overall I was glad that we went.
STANDINGS AND UPCOMING SERIES AS OF 09.02:
Brewers 80-57, -4.5 (3 v. Mets, 4 v. Padres)
Reds 61-76, -23.5 (3 v. Pirates, 3 v. Cubs)
Twins 73-60, -- (3 @ Blue Jays, 3 v. Tigers)
RACE FOR 2008 "MOST GAMES ATTENDED" TITLE:
Erik - 24
Peter - 46