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When does the lively debate over introducing instant replay to baseball come to grips with the game's contingencies?
If a double off the top of the center field wall turns out on review to be a home run instead, no harm done. But what if a homer turns out to be a double? What happens to the runners who ambled around the bases when a home run was signaled? A triple down the line that slo-mo reveals landed a hair outside the chalk is easily voided, but what do you do about the foul that actually landed fair? And the runner halfway to third when the center fielder makes a sensational catch and easily doubled up back at first is given what base when the catch turns out to be a trap?
Imagine this one. Runners at first and second. One out. A shot up the middle. The second baseman gloves the ball, stabs at second with one foot, and throws to third. Out at second. Out at third on a bang-bang play. Certain the runner heading to third beat the throw, his manager appeals. And what does the replay show? It shows that although the third baseman was standing on the bag, he missed the tag. So the runner is safe at third. But it also shows that the second baseman didn't actually touch second. So the runner at second is safe -- which turns the play at third into a force play. And that means the third baseman didn't have to tag the runner, so that runner's out after all.
Readers are invited to submit their own scenarios.
Instant replay? Does baseball really want to go there?