Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Instant Replay: Can't This Wait Until April?

I'm not here to debate whether or not instant replay in baseball is a good thing. Frankly, it doesn't really bother me if they have replay or not. Sure, when they plan on implementing it this Thursday, the purists may be unhappy.

"The human element is part of the game," they'll say.

Maybe so, but what if that human element causes your team to miss out on the playoffs because the crew chief thought to rule in favor of a ground rule double rather than a home run.

Either way, both sides, for and against, have valid arguments when talking about instant replay.

But I'm not here to talk about that.

My only concern with this, and I think it's a big one that isn't being talked about, is that they plan to implement the system in the middle of the season. What? I thought changing rules mid-way was something reserved for when you were losing a game you and your brothers created in the backyard.

At the beginning of the season, MLB didn't have instant replay. But then there were a few weeks in May where it seemed every home run was being debated, and the issue was brought to the forefront. It seemed like instant replay was inevitable, and that it would soon be implemented in baseball. But when I first heard discussions about this, I thought for sure it would be something voted on during the Winter Meetings.

Not during the actual season itself.

Think about it. What if for 8 weeks the NFL decided not to have instant replay, but then midway through the season they changed their mind? To me, that would jeopardize the whole integrity of that season. You can't play two halves of a season with a different set of rules.

What if the NBA decided in March to change the shot clock from 24 to 35? What if 4 months into the season the NHL eliminated their icing rule. What if your fantasy football league decided to give a point per receptions this year, only you didn't start awarding them until week 10?

Yeah, these things are bound to happen much more frequently than there will be a need to look at the replay machine in baseball. But changing the rules mid-season still seems questionable to me.

If only there was a way to review that decision.


Anonymous said...

Ha, I know right, I just read about this today and was stunned at how fast this went from something that would never happen, to something that would be looked at down the road, or playoffs and already in effect. All in the course of a season.

Anonymous said...

wow. having instant replay for half of a season but not the other? thats so ridiculous, thats like having a league where half the teams have an extra offensive player and the other half dont.

Unknown said...

nba switched balls mid season last year.

Ben said...

Just to make it more interesting, the day they actually do implement it...they shouldn't use it until after the 6th inning.

Jonk said...

This timing thing is being blown way out of proportion. Who cares when? Getting the calls right should be what matters. Instead, what we really should be concerned with is how the thing is set up.

It will be up to the crew chief to determine whether replay is needed. The umpires will leave the field, geeks at MLB Advanced Media in NYC will show the video to the umpires, and the crew chief will make the final ruling.

So, as Rotoworld observed, the entire process is in the hands of the people "who don't like to have their decisions questioned and who have seemingly infinite job security no matter their level of competence." Great.

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