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Instant Replay in Major League Baseball

A replay system similar to that of other professional sports to handle missed calls by umpires.

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The Great Debate: Should Instant Replay be Integrated into Major League Baseball?

  • Jun 3, 2010
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After last  night's historic blown call that cost rookie pitcher Armando Galarraga a Perfect Game by veteran umpire Jim Joyce, there has been a resurgence of the argument of whether or not Instant Replay should be more fully integrated into Major League Baseball.  Of course there are still a lot of players, managers and umpires who like things just the way they are and are in favor of keeping the game "Old School," keeping the human factor intact.  However, after last night's call, it seems something has to be done.  There are ways in which you can have Instant Replay in the game and still keep America's Past Time...well, America's Past Time.

Already since last night, tons of ideas on how exactly Replay's should be put into the game have come pouring out, some of them good and some of them ridiculous.  What seems to scare a lot of die hard people in the sport is that Instant Replay has the potential to draw out the length of games which already run between 3-5 hours.  Realistically, the only way replay would draw out the game was if balls and strikes and every call at the base pads constantly went under review.  That simply would never happen.  People don't want to see that because at the end of the day, fans and players alike want to keep the human aspect in the game.  Reviewing balls and strikes is absurd, but having the opportunity to challenge one call a game seems pretty fair.

Let's say there is a situation like last night where a pitcher is throwing a Perfect Game, or there is a safe call at the plate which ends with a walk off victory.  The manager of that team should have the option to throw a "flag" so to speak very much like in the NFL where the call can be challenged.  This does not lengthen the game in any drastic way and it gives baseball teams one fair shot at getting a bad call overturned.  That should be it though, one chance to challenge.  Anything over that will get out of hand and that's where a game would start to get drawn out.  You have to look at it from a point of view where statistically, umpires make about one bad call a game so that one bad call should be able to be challenged.

The only other solution that doesn't involve bringing Instant Replay into baseball more than it already is is having umpire retraining after every season.  The past three years have been a joke as far as umpiring goes.  Some of the older umps have made some bad calls and as much as this is a controversial statement, there should be a cut off age for umpires.  A lot of umpires base their calls off of sound and eye, but as you get older, those senses start to deteriorate.  Much like drivers licenses', older umpires should either have to retest after a certain age or retire.  Either way, umpires need some Spring Training just as much as the players do because blown calls in the game are getting to out of hand.

No matter what it is, something needs to change in Baseball.  Whether it's the umpires themselves or the addition of Instant Replay.  if it is done right, the human factor in the great sport of baseball can be kept intact, the only thing that needs to happen now is to get the ball rolling with something!  When you have some umpires saying a change needs to be made, you have to know it's about time.  All that remains to be seen is if MLB Commissioner Bud Selig has the guts to make change happen...

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July 09, 2010
I agree. The biggest complaint I hear about implementing instant replay is that it will lengthen the game, but I believe the difference won't be much and it will improve the game.
June 03, 2010
hey Julian. Nice write up. I was sick to my stomach for that poor kid and so mad at the ump. But then when the ump came out and said he blew the call, i felt terrible for him too. What a bummer the whole way around. I like the idea for one challenge per game on non ball/strike calls. One could argue that it could speed up the game if done efficiently because managers wouldn't feel obligated to come out of the dugout and waste time arguing calls anymore... they could just throw their flag.
June 03, 2010
Yesterday's incident was sad for all involved, sad for Armando Galarraga, sad for Jim Joyce, even sad for Austin Jackson, who made an historic catch that recalls the famous Willie Mays catch of Vic Wertz' deep drive. It was sad for baseball. I completely agree that one review per team per game will not slow the game down and, if used wisely, will prevent a human mistake like occurred in last night's game from having lasting negative effects on the legacy of the game.
June 03, 2010
Julian!  Nice to see you back! :)  I was reading about this last night and pretty much thinking the same thing.  Poor guy who lost his chance at a perfect game.  The umpire was a class act, though, and was said by Galarraga to be practically crying when he personally apologized to him.  Don't know why they haven't implemented instant replay as the norm yet, especially for such questionable calls.  By the way, you should totally join @MichaelN's Just Baseball community and add this review there!  Thanks for sharing :)
June 03, 2010
Nice review. Your idea of one challenge per game is an idea worth considering. The games are way too long already which is a real turn off for me but in the interests of getting important calls right what you propose here has some merit. Let the debate begin anew!
More Instant Replay in Major League... reviews
Quick Tip by . June 07, 2010
I think one review per team makes a lot of sense.
About the reviewer
Julian Brown ()
Ranked #34
Hi, my name is Julian Brown. I currently write for The Brotherly Game, a local Philadelphia soccer website where I cover the US Women's National Team and the local WPS Philadelphia Independence. I … more
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 The Major League Baseball (MLB) Instant Replay rule was instituted on August 28, 2008.

Major League Baseball has now implemented a replay system similar to that of other professional sports to handle missed calls by umpires that have been debatable over recent years. The implementation for this replay system in professional baseball began on August 28, 2008 based on a statement issued by commissioner Bud Selig. "I believe that the extraordinary technology that we now have merits the use of instant replay on a very limited basis," Commissioner Selig said. "The system we have in place will ensure that the proper call is made on home run balls and will not cause a significant delay to the game."

MLB is now the last of the four major United States professional sports leagues implementing an instant replay review system.

Instant replay reviews may only be initiated by the umpire crew chief, whose job is also to determine as to whether a call should be reversed. Instant replay reviews, as of now, solely are set to determine:

  • Home run calls (fair or foul)
  • Whether the ball actually left the playing field
  • Whether the ball was subject to spectator interference

All games will be monitored and staffed by an expert technician and either an umpire supervisor or a former umpire at Major League Baseball Advanced Media (MLB.com) headquarters in New York. A television monitor and a secure telephone link to MLB.com, placed next to the monitor, have been installed...

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