Yet again, a lack of instant replay looms big in another no-hitter

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before…

Hardball Talk‘s chimes in on the latest umpire assisted no-no:

Just like in Johan Santana‘s no-hitter exactly a week ago, a close play that could have been overturned by replay loomed large in Seattle’s combined no-hitter against the Dodgers on Friday night.

Dee Gordon, maybe the National League’s fastest player, led off the bottom of the ninth with a broken-bat flare to shortstop against Tom Wilhelmsen. Brendan Ryan, just in the game as a defensive replacement, grabbed the ball and made a strong throw to first, getting the out call.

Replay, however, showed that Gordon may have beaten the relay.

In this case, the evidence wasn’t so solid as last week’s fair-foul call on what should have been a Carlos Beltran double.

The play at first base was so close there’s a good chance it wouldn’t have been overturned on whatever replay system baseball eventually implements. Still, it did look like Gordon was safe. Besides just disrupting the no-no, it was a huge call in what was just a 1-0 game at the time.

It’s one of those calls MLB will someday need to make its best effort to get right, instead of just letting one man try to call it at real speed.

Whether it’s the blown Jim Joyce call that actually cost, the now infamous “No-han Santana*” incident or now this, too many of these “historical moments” are being affected by things so easily remedied.

When Armando Gallaraga lost his perfect game on a blown call just over two years ago I wrote that baseball needed instant replay, but “if change comes, make no mistake it will come for entirely the wrong reason” and for me, nothing has changed.

We need instant replay expanded to ensure the integrity of the game, to make sure that a botched call doesn’t determine which teams make the playoffs (or God forbid, the actual outcome of a playoff game).

BUT if the catalyst for change comes in the form of your average baseball fan’s infatuation with no-hitters & perfect games, I’ll take it.

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