Friday, January 18, 2013

Expanded Replay Delayed Until The 2014 Season

While there were expectations that baseball would adopt some form of expanded replay in 2013, it's now clear that won't happen. Despite the fact that everyone wants it, and that current labor agreements allow for it (at least the addition of fair/foul and trap calls), the natural inertia of baseball means nothing will happen until at least 2014. And, honestly, there is good reason for this. There is a consensus building that any expanded replay should be more comprehensive than just the addition of fair/foul and trap calls. Plays on the bases are where the real need for replay exists. To do that right requires a more complex—and at the same time simple—system. There is talk of an NFL-style situation with an extra replay umpire in the booth to make the calls. This would please the umpires, since a.) they get more union members and b.) it's one of their own fraternity making the critical decisions. One wrinkle that's also being considered is using the 'coach's challenge' methodology of the NFL. We think this is a dumb idea—the sight of John Farrell pulling a red flag out of his red sock to issue one of his two challenges is silly. No matter what they end up deciding, let's hope baseball starts using 20th century technology before we get too much further into the 21st century. Let's get true instant replay in 2014.