Instant replay could make the difference in the majors

Giants catcher Buster Posey (left) with shortstop Juan Uribe. (AP Photo)

Most sports in America use it in some form. It makes mistakes disappear, it changes games and it makes the quality of games better.

It is instant replay and it needs to become more prominent in Major League Baseball.

Major League Baseball already uses a form of instant replay to examine home runs, but a more in-depth structure needs to be put in place.

It was heart-breaking to watch the Atlanta Braves get the short end of the stick on a couple of blown calls against the San Francisco Giants, who went on to win the World Series, during the National League Division Series.

In game one of the series, Giants catcher Buster Posey took off for second in the fourth inning and was caught stealing. Except Posey wasn’t called out, the umpires signaled Posey as safe.

The replay clearly shows Posey being tagged out before he reached the base, but the umpires let the play stand as called. Posey would end up coming around to score and that run was the difference in a 1-0 contest.

The Braves weren’t done getting gypped though. Bobby Cox’s last game as a manager should have been a special one, but instead it was tainted as another runner was incorrectly called safe at second base.

Second baseman Omar Infante received a high throw from shortstop Alex Gonzalez that eventually pulled him off the base, but not before he got the out. It was close and it was a lot easier to judge from home, but Infante’s foot was on that base when he caught the ball.

That play at second should have been the second out of the inning and the inning should have been over when Aaron Rowand struck out. However, because of that call the Giants were able to get to Cody Ross, who brought in the game-winning run.

There have been some other bad calls during this year’s playoffs that haven’t had significant impacts, but what if they had?

We’ve already seen what should have been a perfect game by Armando Galarraga go up in smoke when Jim Joyce, a well-respected umpire, made a mistake that he will regret for the rest of his life on a call at first base with two outs in the ninth inning.

So, what’s it going to take for further instant replay to be put in place? The New York Yankees losing a game seven in the World Series on a blown call?

Mistakes and human error are a part of this beautiful game, but you can limit those mistakes and still keep them around in a limited capacity by installing a more advanced system of instant replay.

Managers could be given three challenges to use throughout the first eight innings of a game, while everything in the ninth inning and extra innings would be reviewable — think of football after the two-minute warning.

Home runs provide the biggest swings of momentum in games and thus would still be reviewable at all times just like goals in hockey games.

Balls and strikes would be exempt from review since there is no exact science to developing each player’s zone and hearing a machine punch out a batter – Beep. Boop. Beep. Boop. Strike Three! – would not be entertaining either.

The other calls that would be reviewable under a challenge would consist of checked swings, balls hit down the line and close calls at bases.

There are a ton of ways you could go with replay and a million different systems that could be installed.

Replay won’t bite and it’s not going to hurt anybody, so install it already, Bud Selig.