From Left Field: Expansion Of Instant Replay Imminent?

An article by posted on October 27, 2011

It seems like MLB Commissioner Bud Selig is finally giving in, albeit slightly.

For years, the thought of instant replay in baseball remained just a thought, as Selig and his cronies stressed “human error” as part of the game.

Fair or Foul?

Umpires had been making good and bad calls since the game’s inception, so why did the current administration need to change anything?

However, once the NFL adopted its instant replay program, the technological aspect of sports changed drastically. Coaches could challenge a disputed call, and later, every disputed call with less than two minutes remaining is automatically challenged.

And new this season, every scoring play is now reviewed, even the obvious ones.

Though it changed the game, the right calls were being made. As a result, the emphasis shifted from luck in getting a favorable call to actuality. Did the receiver actually make the catch or did the runner actually break the plan on the endzone?

After seeing how instant replay affected football and after a string of seasons with overall poor umpiring, Selig introduced the first facet of MLB instant replay, which allowed the umpires to review if a ball is or is not a home run.

That has been a successful first step, but just this past Tuesday, Selig announced that the league “will enlarge replay a little bit.”

He said he didn’t want every single call to be reviewed, and that doing so would hurt the sport.

But that’s all that was said.

In an AP report from April, the review of fair or foul calls and trapped balls was a topic of MLB’s discussion, but it was decided not to implement that this season.

Still, it looks as though we will see extended instant replay in 2012. Maybe managers will be able to challenge safe or out calls. Or even if a balk call is actually a balk.

The question is where do we draw the line?

Baseball games take three hours as is, so reviewing all these blown calls would prolong the game even further. There are dozens of calls in every game that can technically be disputed.

I’m on the fence about this whole issue. I’m all about seeing a fairly officiated game (especially if the Mets fall victim to a bad call), but I also respect that human error is part of the game.

For all the times the Mets have suffered from a bad call, they likely have been the beneficiaries of bad calls. It all evens out in the end.

The problem is that if the expansion of instant replay continues, we may get to the point where every single pitch can be reviewed as being a ball or a strike. That’s highly unlikely, but I hope you get the point.

Depending on what MLB officials agree upon for the new instant replay procedures, they need to take a firm stance and say that’s it.

The game must progress as is, because if this trend continues, we will see robots on the field umpiring games.

What are your thoughts?

About the Author ()

Jim Mancari hails from Massapequa, N.Y. He earned a Master's degree in journalism from Hofstra University. He is a devout Mets fan and takes pride in his team, despite their lack of success over the last few years. Like all Mets fans, Jim has plenty of hope. He also writes as the sports reporter for the Brooklyn Tablet newspaper and the senior editor of metroBASEBALL Magazine. Be sure to visit http://www.jimmancari.com/

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