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How To Add Replay To MLB (And How It Could Actually Happen)

By / 06.04.10

How about that Jim Joyce? I haven’t seen a pooch screwed like that since I stopped working at PetSmart. But to be fair, this is the burden that the umpires of baseball have placed upon themselves by allowing their employers to ignore the benefits of instant replay review in games. Now that Detroit pitcher Armando Galarraga lost a perfect game due to inevitable human error, it’s time for baseball to step away from the Ford Edsel and expand the use of replay review in its games. How would they do it? I thought you’d never ask…

Add a fifth umpire and use a booth review system. When umpires decide to review questionable home run calls under the current system, they all trot off the field together like drunks shuffling out of a bar. That’s annoying and it’s the biggest part of the delays currently involved with MLB’s replay system. Leave it up to a guy in the booth to make the final decision. The crew on the field had their chance to get it right; they can sit this one out.

It doesn’t even have to be a fifth umpire. Hell, grab that third base ump and stick him up there. He’s not doing anything except sweating through his jowls. Those guys would appreciate spending every fourth night in an air-conditioned suite.

Leave the decision to review with the umpires. We can’t give managers the opportunity to challenge calls. We don’t want them calmly dropping red flags on the field or hot dog wrappers or whatever. We want them running out of the dugout going apesh*t and screaming at whoever booted that called strike. Leave the decision to the umps.

Allow any questionable play to be reviewed, except for balls and strikes. Admit it, umpires screw a lot of stuff up. And don’t give me this line about how their job is harder because they’re some kind of public figure. You know why NFL officials aren’t demonized, Paul Lukas? Because THE TEAMS ACTUALLY HAVE AN OPPORTUNITY FOR APPEAL. It’s amazing what can happen in your sport when everyone stops pretending that it’s 1950.

That said, let’s not start reviewing individual pitches. Otherwise, four-hour games will become the norm, and that just won’t do on a school night.

Get rid of the designated hitter. This has nothing to do with replay. I just hate the DH.

So does this have a chance in hell of ratification? Maybe. The umpires’ union would enjoy adding more jobs with a “replay umpire,” and it would restore confidence to the officiating of the game. I’m not the first person to say this, but it’s not a matter of “if,” but “when” baseball enters the 21st century and fully integrates instant replay. Just open up and say, “Ahhhh,” baseball. This won’t hurt a bit.


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