Friday, December 16, 2011

Baseball makes common sense changes

Major League Baseball owners have officially signed off on the new labor deal. With that move, the game is in for a lot of common-sense changes.

MLB is in store for more instant replay, specifically on fair or foul calls, trapped balls and fan interference, all calls that are pretty easy to get right with the technology that we have today. I think the more baseball can reduce blown calls, the better it is for the sport. But some of the replay rules still need to be worked out. I think MLB should institute a maximum number of replay challenges per game so that managers do not abuse the privilege by arguing every call and forcing umpires to take a second look.

I know there are concerns about the impact of expanded instant replay on the pace of the games, but I would rather get the calls right. And baseball is taking other steps to quicken games, including increased financial penalties for hitters and pitchers who take too much time between pitches. That means you, Josh Beckett!

I think baseball is also right to eliminate the rule barring two teams from the same division from playing each other in the first round of the playoffs. I enjoyed watching the New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox fight it out for the right to go to the World Series in the American League Championship Series in 2003 and 2004. But it was patently unfair to teams forced to play against stronger teams in the first round simply because the two division teams could not meet early in the playoffs. If the Yankees and the Red Sox end up meeting in a five-game divisional series, that would only add to the intensity and pressure of the best Rivalry in baseball.

So a lot of the changes make complete sense, although this being baseball, even common sense sometimes takes a backseat for a while.

Thanks to PhreddieH3 via en.Wikipedia for the Josh Beckett photo.

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