- by Caroline Piper
Baseball fans have been up in arms for years over the mere idea of adding instant replay to MLB. Well, now it's happening, and fans just aren't sure how to take it.
Two weeks ago Major League Baseball announced that it will move forward with the installation of instant replay technology to minimize bad calls made during games. The agreement states that a 75 percent vote by the owners will be needed in order for this new system to be approved. The players' association and umpires would also have to agree to any changes made to the current system. If it passes, the system will be put into play in 2014.
The system will be simple. Team managers will be allowed just one challenge during the first six innings of every game, and then two from the seventh inning until the end of the game.
Any calls that are challenged will then be reviewed by a specific crew back at MLB headquarters in New York City. This crew will make the final ruling.
If a manager sees a call that he feels is incorrect, he will then file a challenge with the crew chief or with the home plate umpire. Only reviewable plays can be challenged — there will be some non-reviewable plays and these can still be argued by managers. Managers will be allowed to request that the umpires discuss a non-reviewable call in order to see if another member of the crew saw the play differently.
If a manager does not use his challenge in the first six innings, he cannot 'bank' it, it will not carry over. But any manager who wins a challenge will retain it.
Commissioner Selig says that he hopes this new addition will drastically reduce the number of 'incorrect calls' made during each game.
Could instant replay have made a difference throughout the years? Some very questionable calls have lost teams some very big games. For example, Red Sox fans will remember the 1975 World Series, that may or may not have been lost due to a botched non-call. Cesar Geronimo was on base. Pinch hitte Ed Armbrister bunted. He then ran into the Red Sox pitcher, causing a wild throw to second, but the runner was safe. The Red Sox asked for an interference call, but didn't get it, and of course, went on to lose the game.
Was there player interference or wasn't there? A quick look at the replay screen could have answered the question.
Another call that could have definitely used the instant replay was the infamous 'Denkinger Call'. It was Game Six of the 1985 World Series between the St. Louis Cardinals and Kansas City Royals. Don Denkinger was the first base umpire. The series was at 3-2, and the Cardinals were about to win the World Series. But at the bottom of the ninth, with the Royals trailing 1-0, Jorge Orta (the Royals lead-off batter) hit a slow grounder to Jack Clark, who fielded the ball cleanly and threw it to the pitcher, Todd Worrell who was covering first. The runner was out, by a mile. However, the ump ruled him safe.
The game went on to be a comedy of errors, and the Cardinals lost, forcing a game seven which they also lost, handily. Would they, without that terrible call, have been World Series Champs? Who knows, but it didn't help. Replay would have saved their bacon at first base, anyway.
Sure, we've seen instant replay adopted by the NFL, and there is no doubt it method has increased the length of football games. It will also cut down on some of the more bogus calls we've seen throughout history, distant and recent. Everyone has yelled at a ref, either at the game or at home, wondering if he needs his eyes checked, and this new system will show him that yes, maybe he does need glasses, or bifocals.
Instant Replay can benefit teams. In its infancy, games may go on a bit longer, but hey, it's baseball. Fans already know to settle in and get comfortable when the ball game comes on, because they aren't going anywhere for a while. What's a few more minutes to get it right?
Instant replay is going to have a major impact on the Majors in 2014, but that's no reason to get rid of your Direct TV DVR!
With www.GetDirectTV.org you will get not only all the games you can watch, but also see the newest in MLB instant replay, in order to judge for yourself whether you think this new feature helps baseball or not.