In the midst of writing a chapter on steroid use for my book on baseball, I am interrupted by two simple messages…
I had to remove the screen name because my friend had concerns (maybe a little exaggerated) that my readers are all psycho and creepy and would start IMing like crazy. But anyways, the concern for instant replays in MLB might be a little more profound. Anyways, let me know what you think on the decision for MLB to use instant replay in limited usages probably starting August 1st.
I would say that pretty much describes what the majority of fans are thinking right now. For me, I think in the experimental phases of the instant replay it should only be limited to home runs and nothing else. See how it affects the game and if makes it considerably longer to go and consult the use of instant replay. In a time where the commissioner wants to shorten the games by reducing the time a pitcher takes between pitches, this is certainly a step in the other direction. However, I think it is a necessary step that needs to be taken to ensure that the correct calls are made and no game is decided on an incorrect call.
This is probably better come playoff time where they expand the number of umpires in a game but they should not be afraid from using technology to call the game correctly. Yes I can understand the need to “human”-ize the game where everything is not just technologically dependent on scouts and video tapes, that there still needs to be that human element in the game. You cannot have instances like the NBA where a clock does not run and then the referees are barred under the rules to use the replay to make the correct decision. I am not saying that the umpires should now use the replay for every single pitch to determine whether it is a strike or ball, whether a runner is safe or out at first base on a bang bang play or even whether a shot down the line looked fair or foul. Those things are simple and usually close enough where the umpire should be able to make the call on his own or if consultation is needed, there are three other umpires with them on a given night. It is just on a call where the ball is leaving the park and it is not evident whether the ball cleared the foul pole on the fair or foul side which could certainly impact the outcome of the game. Yes other plays can have an impact like that as well and maybe you extend the limits to homeruns and “game ending plays” but August is still a long way away and I am sure the officials will hammer out the details in the next two months or so.