Why The College World Series Should Not Use Instant Replay

September 28, 2011
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By College Baseball 360 Editor Sean Stires

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Have you been watching the race for the MLB Wildcard this month? If you’re a Boston Red Sox fan you have more likely been cringing than actually watching September baseball.

The races for the final AL and NL playoff spots has been great drama for sure, and those races are also exactly why the College World Series should NOT use instant replay as it plans to do in 2012.

Huh?

That’s right, it’s still the regular season, but Major League Baseball doesn’t just use instant replay on home run calls in the postseason, it uses replay in games 1-162 as well as in each and every postseason playoff and World Series game.

Home run calls will be up for review at the 2012 College World Series

College baseball’s (and ESPN’s) plan is to merely use replay for those 15 or so games at the CWS, but not during the Regional or Super Regional rounds of the NCAA Tournament, not during conference tournaments and not during the thousands of games that take place during the regular season.

The rationale is, the technology is in place at the College World Series, so why not use it? I get that argument, but I don’t agree with it.

The fact is, the outcry for change (especially in sports) always comes when the spotlight is the greatest. The spotlight is the greatest in college baseball when those eight teams pull up in their buses in Omaha.

What should have been called a home run during a North Carolina-Vanderbilt game at this year’s CWS was not ruled a home run and ESPN’s cameras caught it. The result?

Outcry.

Every game the Red Sox, Rays, Angels, Braves, and Cardinals have played this month has counted just as much as the ones they played in April and they count just as much as the ones they may or may not play if they make it to the postseason. Instant replay has been an option for each and every one of those games this month and throughout the season, but that is not the case for college baseball.

Go back to 2008. The end of the story is “Wunderdog” Fresno State celebrating a national championship by defeating Georgia at the College World Series, but the journey started well before that.

Fresno had lost three straight with two games left to go in the regular season before it finally clinched the WAC regular season crown. The Bulldogs had to win the WAC postseason tournament just to qualify for the NCAA Tournament. Contrary to what some in the NCAA would tell you, those four WAC Tourney games FSU won are postseason games and they all counted just as much as the two at the end of the regular season and the seven combined Regional and Super Regional games they played before the Bulldogs ever got to Omaha.

While they count just as much, instant replay would not have been an option in any of those games.

How about this year’s SWAC and Mountain West Conference postseason tournaments? Alcorn State and New Mexico, respectively, won those tourneys with losing records. If they hadn’t won their tournaments they wouldn’t have received an NCAA bid. Are those games less important than games in Omaha?

I know, those games are not all televised and therefore replay is not an option, but that doesn’t make the ones that are televised more important…this isn’t the Little League World Series (don’t get me started).

The reason instant replay should not be used at the CWS is the same reason the top college baseball players cannot afford to take a day off during the regular season-

Every game counts.

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