Why instant replay in baseball would unravel the parenting universeThursday, June 03, 2010
It's a bit of a cognitive leap, but let me connect the dots for you:
Last night, a pitcher on the Detroit Tigers named Armando Galarraga lost a perfect game - the stuff of baseball legend - on a blown call at first base with two outs in the ninth inning. The runner was out by a full step, and the umpire has admitted his mistake.
Wednesday morning, the sports world was all abuzz about the need for more instant replay in the sport. Baseball was a late adapter of the second look, only introducing it in 2008, and only on questionable home run calls. Tuesday's play at first base in Detroit was not reviewable, and today, the question is: shouldn't it be?
There's obviously case to be made for saying yes. But before you jump on the instant replay train, consider this: It might unravel the entire parenting space-time continuum.
A lot of raising kids and keeping your sanity hinges on the weight carried by two simple phrases: "Because I said so" and "Life isn't fair." Expanding instant replay undermines both.
On the first point, the game of baseball only works because there are rules, and because umpires have the authority to enforce those rules. If nobody listened to the umps, we'd have no game. And there's punishment for disagreeing with the officials, even if you don't like what they have to say. A classic example is the (unwritten) rule that a batter can't argue balls and strikes. Don't like the call? Keep it to yourself, or you'll find yourself on the way to the locker room quickly.
Parents are the family umps. The buck has to stop there, and kids have to know that it's going to stop in a rather unpleasant hurry, like baseball players being ejected from the game for arguing a call. Kids often don't like what their parents have to say, but if they can count on an after-the-fact vindication -- an "instant replay" in life, if you will -- all bets are off.
The second point doesn't need much explanation. Life isn't fair, and the sooner kids learn that, the better.
Note: I'm only half-serious in all of this. Instant replay should absolutely be used more often. The call was wrong, everyone but the person responsible for making it knew it was wrong, and a pitcher was robbed of a career-making moment. We have the technology to fix it. It's a no-brainer.Error parsing XSLT file: \xslt\article-detail.xslt