"No! Did they call it strike three?! You have got to be kiddin' me!"
If you were listening to WDAE in Tampa last night, this is what you heard. This was the way the Tampa Bay last lost to the Texas Rangers last night.
Rangers Closer Joe Nathan struck out Ben Zobrist on an unconventional called strike three. It was a called strike three on a breaking ball in the dirt. Zobrist put his bat down to go to first, only to drop it to the ground and look back at home plate umpire Marty Foster.
Rays manager Joe Madden was not happy either. Unfortunately the call stood.
It is still early, but, in 2013, this isn't one loss anymore. This is one more shot at the "baseball people" and the conventionalists who won't budge at instant replay.
Those who think that continued instant replay expansion will tarnish the game need to talk to Armando Gallaraga. They need to talk to Ben Zobrist. They need to talk to Jack Hannahan.
The bottom line is this: the arguments against instant replay are getting fewer and fewer.
Does it make the game even longer? Yes. Is it a pain the butt for umpires, fans and players? Yes. Is it going to help get every call right? No. But it can only HELP the sport.
People weren't made to be perfect. While umpires and officials are on a higher level than a lot of us, they are still human. They need help.
Every other major American sport, NBA, NFL and NHL, all use instant replay. Major League Baseball is one of the oldest sports in North America, but that's not an excuse. If the technology is there, it is their responsibility to use it, not ignore it.
The save was Nathan's 300th for his career.