I was watching the Los Angeles Dodgers and Texas Rangers battle it out last night, and while a lot of the focus was on the collision and minibrawl between Matt Kemp and Robinson Chirinos, I couldn't help but dwell on the subsequent close call at the plate. Adrian Beltre slid into home almost simultaneously with catcher Austin Barnes slapping down the tag. The initial call was safe, and thankfully, there were no punches thrown after the fact. However, umpires went to check with replay, and we waited and waited ... and waited.
While the Los Angeles announcers came to the conclusion that it was quite clear to them that the call would be overturned, as a relatively neutral party, I had instantly determined that the replays were inconclusive and that there was no "out" call forthcoming. Yet the further review went on and on for some time before the safe call was deemed to stand. My stance on replay in baseball is that it should be used to overturn glaring errors -- plays where you can take the blinders of fandom out of the equation -- and only when those clear mistakes can be seen at or close to full speed on the tape. There's no need to turn every bang-bang play at first base into the Zapruder film. If you can't tell right away that the umps were wrong, you declare them to be right and play on.
Meanwhile, after a play involving Billy Hamilton, where he was ruled not to have gone outside the baseline to avoid a tag by Alcides Escobar, Kansas City manager Ned Yost felt the need to opine for even more use of replay: "Look, I couldn't be an umpire. Stuff happens fast. You can't expect to get everything right. You just can't. This just helps them get it right on those bang-bang plays. ... [Replay] just helps them do their job."
I couldn't disagree more. It's the bang-bang calls where, even after analyzing multiple angles, frame by frame, plenty of uncertainty remains. That's true for fantasy baseball player valuations as well. Take the name off the back of the jersey and pore over the stats with a fine-tooth comb and it's hard to decide which is the right call, no matter how long you take to review things.
Here are three "bang-bang" calls. Which pitcher would you rather have in each case?
Mr. Q is rostered in 75.3 percent of leagues, while Mr. V is rostered only in 21.1 percent. Yet in actuality, each has tallied 149 fantasy points so far in 2018.
Mr. W is rostered in just 30.7 percent of leagues, while Mr. Z is rostered in 97.4 percent. Yet in actuality, each has tallied 134 fantasy points so far in 2018.
Mr. X is rostered in 88.1 percent of leagues, while Mr. Y is even more coveted, at 97 percent. Yet in actuality, each has tallied 215 fantasy points so far in 2018.
So which trio of pitchers did you side with?
Whichever side you landed on in these cases, you've been right so far. So don't waste too much time trying to split hairs. Go with your original call and play on!