Thursday, March 15, 2012

No Expanded Replay in 2012

Although MLB felt the need to push through the extra Wild Card into the postseason quickly, they didn't feel like pushing through expanded replay as fast. Expanded replay will not be implemented for the 2012 MLB season.

Apparently umpires wanted something in return to agreeing to implement more replay this season, which would include fair/fouls calls, trapped balls, and fan interference. But the umpires' union couldn't come to an agreement on what that would be, if anything, with the players' union.

I'm not as cynical as some fans, who are lashing out at the umpires for caring more about their wallets than the integrity of the game, but I do think this sucks. Replay is a great tool for an umpire to make the correct call(s). But, as a fellow baseball umpire, I'm concerned with replay taking over the game. I don't believe a robot could ever do the job as well as a human, and expanding replay too far could make umpires worse due to laziness since "the robots will correct me if I'm wrong".

Face it, there are some calls and decisions that take a human brain. For example, how could a robot determine whether or not a pitcher has an illegal substance under the brim of his hat?

And what if a coach has a question on the rules' interpretation? Is he supposed to type the question to the robot behind home plate?

I understand fans just wanting calls to be right. But that starts with putting the best umpires on the field, instead of those with the most seniority or the ones that are great politicians (I can tell you from personal experience that playing the political game with the guys running the officiating associations can be the difference between working a lot of games, or watching a lot of games). What some fans don't seem to understand though is that umpires get 99% of the calls correct. Some of which are amazing, like bang-bang plays at 1B, or bang-bang tag plays when stealing a base. But people harp on that 1%, and claim that that 1% ruins the game. Sorry, but I call "bullsh*t" on that.

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Sorry for the Capatcha... Blame the Russians :)