Spring arrived eleven days ago. You probably didn’t notice because there’s no official celebration for the event. There are no ceremonies or gatherings of random people to formally recognize the time of year when everything begins anew.
For millions of baseball fans, today marks beginning of spring. Today is the opening day of a new season and for the next six months people will gather with old friends and new; at stadiums, restaurants and bars to cheer on their favorite team.
But for major league umpire Jim Joyce, the 2011 season is likely to be one of redemption. You see, last June Joyce blew a call on the last play of a game between the Detroit Tigers and Cleveland Indians. The mistake cost Tigers pitcher Armando Galarraga a perfect game and a place in baseball history. Prior to Joyce’s call, Galarraga had retired 26 consecutive Cleveland batters. Then, the last batter of the game hit a routine groundball to first but Joyce mistakenly called the runner safe. Television replays showed that Joyce missed the call.
“I just cost the kid a perfect game,” Joyce said in a postgame interview.
Of the four major sports leagues, baseball is the only one that doesn’t employ some form of instant replay. Despite the rapid advancements of technology baseball relies exclusively on the judgment of humans to make every call in every game. Human error can cost a team millions of dollars, or worse, a World Series championship.
So what can eDiscovery professionals learn from baseball? Well, companies and legal professionals involved in eDiscovery can’t rely exclusively on human judgment or technology to make decisions. They employ the use of both. Technology can sift through volumes of available information but only a human can review the data and make the close calls.
eDiscovery professionals can’t live in a world of either/or – either rely on technology or humans. Both play a crucial role. Technology is, without question, the best way to cull through volumes of information but it’s the human element, and how skilled they are at making the close calls, that distinguishes companies that perform eDiscovery well from those that don’t.
My guess is that if Jim Joyce had it to do over again, he would want to use technology to show him every camera angle and instant replay so that he could make the right call. If he had it to do over again, he wouldn’t want to cost “the kid a perfect game.”
Are you doing all you can when conducting eDiscovery?
Let us hear your thoughts – about spring, baseball and eDiscovery.
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