Yesterday at the winter meetings in Florida, baseball general managers voted 25-5 in favor of instant replay being used in baseball for disputed home run calls and fair and foul balls.
Now, this doesn’t mean that instant replay will go into effect this year, because there are so many more variables that must go into this. Commissioner Bud Selig will look this over, obviously the player’s union and umpire’s union will get involved, and then they would have to decide when to use, how to use, when do manager’s step in, etc.
Proponents of instant replay say the game needs it because they would hate to see a season be determined by one play. Opponents say it would slow the game down even more and eventually instant replay would open to more things that just fair or foul balls and home runs.
I personally do not like the idea of instant replay and the biggest reason is it will never be the end all to disputes.
The GM’s themselves are saying 99.9% of the calls are right. Over 162 regular season games, close calls are going to work in your favor and they are going to go against you. There has never been a time that after 162 games, the best teams were not in the playoffs because of an umpires call. In the playoffs, there have been some close calls, some missed calls, but at the end of each series, you can never say a team lost because of a blown call…it hasn’t happened yet? (Cardinal fans, don’t pull out Don Dinkenger’s bad call in the 1985 World Series. I have a Royals fan who can give at least 10 other good reasons the Royals won that series).
Here’s what will happen. Baseball will say let’s use replays on home runs and fair and foul balls only. We have the technology, why not use it?
Alright, let’s say in a perfect world baseball comes up with a way that it doesn’t slow the game down and it shows using replays in those situations works. Where will it stop from there? You’ll have folks will find something else to gripe about, trapped balls by the outfielders, did the pitcher balk, did a runner tag up, was the runner in the baseline?
Heck, as great as the Colorado Rockies run was to the World Series, winning 22 of 23 games, the Rockies won a one game playoff over San Diego because Matt Holliday scored on a sacrfice fly in which Michael Barrett actually blocked him from touching the plate. Couldn’t instant replay have changed that game and perhaps the NL playoffs? Why didn’t we hear GM’s crying out?
It will harm baseball because they will either get to a point where they’ll use instant replay on just about anything which will string out games, take away from the already few and far between bursts of excitement, or they’ll only use it in certain situations, which will lead to more debates.
Example, The Cubs have a runner on third, with two outs trailing the Cardinals 3-2. Alfonso Soriano hits what everyone thinks is a home run. Instant replay shows it stayed in the park, ruling it a ground rule double. Game tied at 3. Next batter, Derrek Lee singles to right, Soriano is trying to score, the throw from Rick Ankiel is in time, looks like Molina gets the tag on Soriano, but he’s called safe and the Cubs win anyway 4-3. Proponents of instant replay say "see, we should be using instant replay all the time."
I’m hoping they keep it out of the game, but with a 25-5 favorable vote from the GM’s, its just a matter of time. If you think I’m nuts, send me an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org