One of the few advantages my precious baseball has over football is that fans have a clear understanding of what constitutes a catch. It’s a small thing, but all small things are worth clinging to for dear life. Or at least this used to be true. Now I’m not so sure.
Look at this play from last night’s Marlins-Tigers game. Miami left fielder Harold Ramirez appeared to drop a fly ball in the ninth inning but the ruling was overturned upon review.
After a dozen viewings, it appears the correct call was made. The ball pauses enough at the top of Ramirez’s closed glove before he goes to make the transfer. But in real time, this looks like a pure drop. The Marlins went on to win in 11th inning and probably wouldn’t have done so if the call had been upheld.
So a few things: first, there’s a real argument to be made that baseball was never meant to be played like this. In the truest spirit of the game, this isn’t a catch. Using frame-by-frame replay to discern the technically correct call has the byproduct of making things sloppy as hell.
Second, it can’t be stressed enough how much of a buzzkill it is to not be able to react with 100 percent confidence as a fan to 50-50 plays knowing full well fate will be decided by officials rewinding and rewatching. Even baseball is going the sports courtroom direction.