Friday, September 24, 2010

An Umpire For Instant Replay

A couple of years ago I was asked what I thought about instant replay in baseball. At the time, stated that there is no way that baseball needs instant replay. Missed calls are part of the game. Well, during the past two years, my opinion has completly changed. Today, I feel that instant replay is needed in baseball.

Why the change of heart? Well, it's simple, as an umpire, our goal is to get the call right. Instant Replay allows us to do that. There is no reason not to use the technology (most of which is already in place) to make sure that the game is being called as fair as possible. I also feel that if instant replay is good enough to tell if a ball is a homerun or not, why is it not good enough to help with fair and foul calls and close plays at the bag. There is no good reason anyone can give me that this wouldn't be a good thing for the game.

People are getting sick and tired of saying the missed calls are part of the game. I know I am. I want to see the calls made correctly, especially since everytime a call is missed, there are 20 angles of the play showing that they umpire was wrong. In football, sometimes you can't get the right view of a replay but at least they try. In baseball, I seriously doubt that there will be many plays that a camera won't show the correct call.

In this year alone, missed calls have cost a guy a perfect game, have allowed a player to act like he was just shot in the hand and get awarded first base and called a fair ball foul down the third baseline that would have ended the game if called correctly. These are just a few calls but in every one of these cases, if instant replay was allowed, the calls would have been overturned.

Umpires aren't perfect, not are any official. Mistakes happen but there needs to be a way to limit them.

Here is my proposition for instant replay in baseball. First off, balls and strikes are OFF LIMITS. That is one thing I am against changing. Why? Well, I honestly believe that umpires do a great job of calling balls and strikes. Plus (I may be wrong on this) I believe the camera that show the srike zone are not directly behind the pitchers mound do they are not 100% accurate.

Ok, Balls and strikes are off limits but everything else is allowed. Out/safe, fair/foul, catch/no catch. Everything. Each team is given two challenges a game. If you use the challange and get it right, you don't lose the challange. If you use the challenge and are wrong, you lose a challenge and lose a trip to the mound the next inning.

I feel that this would allow managers the option to use one early and not feel like they have to save it till the end of the game.

Also, I would add a 5th umpire to every crew (baseball can afford it). This 5th umpire (whoever it is each night) sits in the booth and would do reviews. I bet it would only take a minute on 90% of the calls.

Well, that's might opinion, what do you think?


  1. I like the idea of replay. I love the idea of a 5th umpire. I HATE the idea of challenges.
    The problem with the challenge, is that a manager could use it without merit to do something such as stall to give a reliever extra time to warm up in the pen. Specially late in the game, he can do that and not worry about wasting his challenge. I like the idea of the 5th umpire who is always watching everything, and if he sees a questionable call, he signals the ump-in-chief to call time, and he reviews the play. Similar to the NFL replay rule in the last 2 minutes of the game, where challenges can only be initiated by the "booth". Anyhow, just found your blog recently, and love it. Keep up the good writing.

  2. I like the idea of replay. The challenge idea is good in principle but as the comment above mine states, managers would be able to waste them on irrelevant calls to stall. I personally hate "booth" reviews. Anytime there is a blatantly obvious call (in college or the NFL), it seems the booth feels it's absolutely necessary to review it. The Mizzou game this weekend had horrible officiating, yet the booth only seemed to review calls I made from the stands, 80 yards away from the play. I love the fact that going to a baseball game means I take 3 hours to watch it, it's part of the experience, and it almost always is worth my time. I'm all for adding a couple minutes to correct calls that are important to the outcome of the game. Gallaraga deserved that perfect game, Jim Joyce is a wonderful umpire and doesn't deserve the legacy he now carries. If Selig weren't so stuck in his ways replay would've been instated a couple years ago.