Thursday, June 3, 2010

Baseball can allow limited instant replay

There will never be a better argument for instant replay than the blown call by umpire Jim Joyce that cost Armando Galarraga his perfect game last night. Major League Baseball can and should allow for the limited use of instant replay for all types of plays, not just home run calls.

I know baseball doesn't want the games to drag on longer than they already do. But as a fan, I would much rather the umpires spend an extra five minutes getting the call right than refusing to take another look because it will take too long. I think it does more damage to the game when a terrible call stands because there is no mechanism to correct it.

There is an easy way not to let the use of instant replay get out of control: limit the ability of a team to request a replay to one play per game (and specifically bar replays on ball and strike calls). If a manager knows he only has one replay request, he will guard it zealously. He's not going to waste it on a silly call to see if a runner is safe at first with no one on base and two outs in the third inning. The manager will wait until a crucial point in the game to ask for a replay such as runners in scoring position in the late innings. And those are the times when getting the call right is most important.

Allowing for limited instant replay is what is best for baseball. I hope Bud Selig and his baseball committee come to the same conclusion very soon.

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