On Thursday, MLB clubs voted unanimously to expanded instant replay in the upcoming 2014 season. Expanded replay was bound to happen once home runs were allowed to be reviewed back in 2008. I have to admit, at first I was not in favor of expanding instant replay. I like the idea of having the human element in baseball and I feel replay may eliminate that. But with all of the technological improvements over the years, it’s hard to argue that replay can only make the game better.
The clubs agreed on the following plays to be reviewed at the start of the 2014 season:
- Home run
- Ground rule double
- Fan interference
- Stadium boundary calls (e.g., fielder into stands, ball into stands triggering dead ball)
- Force play (except the fielder’s touching of second base on a double play)
- Tag play (including steals and pickoffs)
- Fair/foul in outfield only
- Trap play in outfield only
- Batter hit by pitch
- Timing play (whether a runner scores before a third out)
- Touching a base (requires appeal)
- Passing runners
- Record keeping (Ball-strike count to a batter, outs, score, and substitutions)
Although I will miss seeing managers throw a temper tantrum on the field, there is no question Major League Baseball is making the right decision by doing everything they can to get the call right. Calls like Jeter’s home run in game 1 of the ALCS, Jim Joyce’s blown call to end Galarraga’s perfect game, and Todd Helton being a foot off first base but still getting an out call will all be corrected by instant replay. Instead of the manager running out to scream in the face of an umpire, the manager will let the crew chief know that he wants the previous play reviewed. If any part of the play is overturned, the manager will be awarded another challenge. After the sixth inning, the crew chief can choose to review any play they feel needs replay.
Many people have been wondering if adding addition replay will make baseball games even longer, but the results from the 2013 Arizona Fall League show that it will be a quick procedure as the average replay took a minute and forty seconds. I think there is no question Major League Baseball is making the right decision on expanding instant replay. If it improves the quality of the game, who can argue.