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Sports editor

Les Winkeler is sports editor and outdoors writer for The Southern Illinoisan.

I am so over video replay reviews.

It seemed like a great idea at the time. But, the results have been less than satisfactory.

First, as much as technology has advanced, it is still lacking. Our games are interrupted for several minutes, only to learn that replays from a dozen different angles don’t produce a definitive result. So we hear, “The ruling on the field stands.”

Ugh. Who needs it?

Second, I’ve come to the conclusion that even when technology improves, replay is not a good idea. Going to technology to provide conclusive results lends an air of sterility to our games that is both unsettling and unsatisfying.

The outcome of the games we play are based on the strengths and weaknesses of men and women. Theoretically, the team that is closest to perfect on a given day wins the game. Although, bad bounces and gusts of wind can alter that. (Artificial turf and domed stadiums are eliminating those variables, but that is a column for another day.)

Human beings aren’t perfect. We never have been. We never will be.

And, perfection depends on your perspective. If you are a pitcher, perfection is throwing an unhittable strike on every pitch. A hitter sees perfection as knocking the ball out of the park with every swing.

So, our games are about who comes closest to perfection. The second part of that sentence should be, “without mechanical intervention.”

Players will make plenty of mistakes during every game. It’s only reasonable to assume that the men and women officiating the games are also imperfect. I’ve come to learn that is a part of the game that should be preserved.

Probably the most notable instance is Don Denkinger’s blown call in the 1985 World Series. If Denkinger gets the call correct, the Cardinals probably win the World Series. He didn’t, and eventually the Kansas City Royals won the first World Series in franchise history.

At the time, I was incensed. And, why not? We was robbed!

On the other hand, if replay reverses the call, no one remembers the 1985 series. The number 1985 simply is added to the list of World Championships at Busch Stadium. It’s a footnote in Cardinals history.

With a dash of assistance from Denkinger’s imperfection, 1985 becomes a red-letter date in Kansas City sports lore.

The missed call burned memories of that game into our psyches. St. Louis Cardinals’ announcer Rick Horton talked about the game on the air last week. If Denkinger’s call is overturned, it’s forgotten.

My reason for watching sporting events is as the intro to the ABC anthology series so eloquently stated, “The human drama of athletic competition.”

Mechanizing our sports does nothing but diminish that aspect of the games.

Umpires and referees are hired to make decisions. Let them do their jobs.

Besides, with the advent of replay we are deprived of the occasional sight of a manager storming out of the dugout to argue with the umpire.

Now, that’s entertainment … much more entertaining than watching three guys wearing headsets watching a replay.

LES WINKELER is the sports editor of The Southern Illinoisan. Contact him at, or call 618-351-5088 / on Twitter @LesWinkeler.


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