The technology is in place where instant replay can be used and perhaps should be used on an expanded basis in Major League Baseball. The problem is the owners, player’s union and umpire’s union can’t agree on how to best utilize replay to enhance the human element of the game.
I would be in favor of expanded instant replay to continue to include home runs, balls that land in fair or foul territory and even close tags on bases. I still want human umpires to call balls and strikes.
The biggest problem I have with instant replay is the decisions based on viewing the video are still subjective. In other words, there could be situations where there are close plays and two different people could see two different results. There is no clear exact science yet for figuring out the best route to take for instant replay.
A few things I would propose for MLB:
1. The crew chief for the umpires would be hooked up to microphone similar to a football ref. On a disputed call, after a discussion with managers, the crew chief would explain to the fans in the stadium and on T.V. exactly what the dispute is and then say a request to review the video has been placed.
2. The umpire would then walk to a telephone stationed in the home team’s dugout and talk to a replay crew based in MLB’s offices in New York City. A panel of three replay officials would view the play in question, and make their judgment, with 2 of 3 votes needed to confirm or overturn the call.
3. The replay officials would relay their decision to the crew chief over the phone, who would then verbally explain the call to the fans.
By having an outside source view the replays, it takes the pressure off of umpires needing to change a call they may have missed.