I love baseball, but some games have a tendency to linger on way too long. Mid-inning pitching changes and intentional walks really draw the game out.
But now that MLB has agreed to expand its instant replay, games may be even longer.
Starting next season, managers will be able to challenge an umpire’s call. One challenge will be allowed in the first six innings of play and then two from the seventh inning until the completion of the game.
The disputed call will be reviewed at the MLB headquarters in New York City, and a confirmation of the call or a correction will be relayed.
Frankly, I’m not sure where I stand on the issue of instant replay in baseball.
I understand that human error has been part of the game of baseball since its inception in the mid-1800s. The old saying that “Calls eventually even out” has been pretty accurate, as each team usually gets a few calls in its favor and vice versa.
But after seeing some of the blown calls, this year in particular, I’m starting to come around on instant replay. The worst was earlier this season in a game between the Oakland A’s and the Cleveland Indians in which the umpires reviewed a disputed home run call and still got the call wrong.
If expanded instant replay means more correct calls, I guess I’m all for it, as long as it’s done in a way that does not turn a three-plus-hour game into a four-plus-hour game.
It may take a little getting used to see an MLB manager pull a challenge flag from his back pocket as hurl it onto the field. But that will soon be a common occurrence.
One thing that must be taken into account is the fact that every clubhouse has several television sets. A manager may have a runner that sprints to the clubhouse to see an instant replay before making the decision to challenge a disputed call.
In that way, the manager can save the challenge for another disputed call that could potentially work in his favor.
There would have to be some sort of time limit. A manager could potentially come on the field and argue for a few minutes while the runner views the clubhouse replay. The runner could then signal to the manager on the field about whether to continue with the challenge.
Again, as long as there is a feasible way to may this work, I’m leaning toward being in favor of instant replay. While I understand both sides, the integrity of the game must be compromised in order to ensure the accuracy of calls.
An umpire should never play a role in the final outcome of a game, and unfortunately that has been the case too many times this season, which had forced MLB to take action.
The implementation of instant replay is as much a knock on the current umpiring system than it is necessary for the game.
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