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Friday, March 6, 2015  |   Madison, WI: 26.0° F  
MADLAND: A group blog about life in Madison, Wisconsin
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Citizen Dave: Instant replay is bad for baseball and bad for life

There is no crying in baseball, but there is a fair amount of standing around. Now there will be more.

My favorite professional sport has finally done the inevitable and the regrettable by pretty much fully embracing instant replay. Under new rules this coming season, an über umpire in New York City will review close calls from multiple angles and then transmit his ruling from on high.

It's all to ensure that every call is exactly right. But human error is a part of the game, no less in the officiating than it is on the part of the players. And the thing that's amazing to me is how often the umpires get it right.

For the slim number of times a bad call will be overturned, is it worth it to slow down a slow game even further? I don’t think so. The average time of a Major League ball game today is just around three hours. Forty years ago it was two-and-a-half hours. And in 1927, games often took about an hour-and-a-half.

Just at a time when our attention spans are getting shorter, ball games are getting longer. I have a theory on this: smart phones. When I get bored at a ball game, I check email and messages. Sometimes I snap a picture and post it on Facebook. Smart phones are the way we fill the irregular empty moments in our days. I think it might be why we still go to baseball games, and it's probably why there will be no constitutional amendment (as there should be!) to ban instant replay in baseball.

Still, I don't like it. The instant replay challenges have made NFL games into a series of tedious courtroom sidebars. "The defendant's helmet clearly struck the plaintiff's own helmet just above the shoulder pad as can clearly be seen in nine of the 36 angles that have been presented, your honor. Half the distance to the goal line!"

I like lawyers well enough. I have one in my own family. But, you know what, I don't want to pay forty bucks and spend three hours of my day watching them work.

Can we not relitigate every little thing in our lives? Can we just accept the fact that mistakes and unfairness are just a part of life and move on? Because sometimes just moving on and not wallowing in our slights and offenses is the best thing to do.

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