I know this has been done before, but I think it's worth revisiting in light of Selig's quotes, and with the great minds of AN. I am curious to see what people think.
Let's start with this:
Selig said of implementing broader usage of instant replay, "I'm not afraid of change. We've made more changes in the last 17 years than ever before. But ... baseball's a game of pace, and when you go to a game, you can't have calls being looked at, pitchers waiting on the mound for three or four minutes. It breaks the pace of the game."
"This goes on every time there's a controversial call," Selig said. "I understand the Phil Cuzzi call and others. But frankly, I'm quite satisfied with the way things are.
"We need to do a little work, clean up some things. But do I think we need more replay? No. Baseball is not the kind of game that can have interminable delays."
Aside from the obvious, as in really?????? Are you sure we're talking about the right sport what with the pitching coach visits, the manager visits, the catcher visits, the arguing on the field, and the ten thousand other delays in baseball, would it really be the end of the world to usher in some of the advances in technology to call the game correctly?
I'm not asking for replays on every play. Obviously, I don't want robots behind home plate. I'm just asking baseball to take a look at what has been done with technology in other sports in order to have an opportunity for a team to not to win or lose a game on a bad call. And I don't think that's too much to ask for.
As anyone who has been watching the 2009 playoffs can tell you, there have been some questionable calls, but worse, there have been some unacceptably wrong calls. Umpires physically can't be perfect in split-second decisions and maybe it's time we stop expecting them to be. What recourse does a team have when the game hangs in the balance of a call that was clearly missed?
Maybe I'm not being fair to think that the only reason not to do some sort of replay is to preserve the idea of "old-school" baseball; yet I can't help but think that people are resistant to the idea simply because it is a change. Selig can talk about the pace of the game all he wants, but I'm asking for something like one replay challenge a game, per team. I'm asking for nothing more than the right to not have a game end on the incorrect call. How many games would this really affect? Doesn't it seem like the homerun challenge fits seamlessly into the sport already?
As for the excitement of the game; watch a football challenge or a homerun challenge. The crowd is almost as into a challenge call as they were into the play; waiting with baited breath as the referees/umpires confer, and the silence before the announcement is palatable. More importantly, the call is correct.
What do you think? Do you support some kind of limited instant replay? How would you implement this in a baseball game? What plays do you think it would apply to? Fair/foul balls? Calls on bases?
And maybe one last thought. Have the playoffs always been infiltrated with incorrect calls; is it only the oversaturation of cameras in place that cause us to notice it now?