The general mangers meetings have been underway in Orlando since Monday and no big trades have been announced. Something bigger has occurred, that might exceed trades. Something that might change the future of this game.
The general mangers voted 25-5 to introduce a limited instant replay. The use would be limited to judging if a home run is fair or foul, or it the ball made it over the wall without the help of a fan in the front row (remember Jeffrey Maier?).
Don’t worry baseball purists. The technology that invaded the NFL, NBA, and NHL is not definite. Next this would have to go before the commissioner who was long said he’s against any instant replay in baseball. Once he reviews it, it would go to more votes; the players, umpires, and possibly the owners.
This will definitely be a debate in the coming months among baseball fans. Some already feel that baseball needs to step into the 21st century, and a limited instant replay would be good for the game. Others think that baseball is fine as is and holds itself to a higher standard then the other major sports in this country.
Based on the vote passed the general managers yesterday, it’s not a matter of will instant replay be in baseball, but a matter of when.
When I first heard about this last night, I was immediately against it. I do consider myself somewhat of a baseball purist. I think pitchers should bat and all games should be played on natural grass. My stance on instant replay has nothing to do with being a purist. The reason I’m against instant replay in baseball is it will hurt the game.
One of the biggest knocks on baseball from critics is that the game moves slow and it takes too long. Adding instant replay will only delay the game further. Try to imagine Steve Traschel on the mound and three instant replays (let’s say there were a lot of balls hit on the line). You could ballpark the time of that game somewhere around four hours. That’s a situation that surely won’t help television ratings. Also, one of the most exciting things about baseball is late inning drama. A walk off home run to end a game. The crowd goes nuts as the batter rounds the basepaths with the entire team waiting for him at home plate. That will all be gone if there’s a 2-4 minute wait for them to “review it upstairs” to make sure the umpires call was correct. Talk about anti-climactic.
A recent study was done with cities with multiple sports franchises and which sport "ruled that city". Baseball took a backseat in all cities except Los Angeles and New York. Baseball is trying to attract new fans of the game. With football’s popularity, and basketball and hockey offering more action, baseball is losing the battle. If you impliment rules that might take away drama, and slow the pace of the game further, it can only make the situation worse.
That’s just my two cents…