Major League Baseball owners will meet later today to discuss whether or not to expand the use of instant replay during games. Baseball began using instant replay in 2008 on disputed boundary home run calls.
Baseball purists, always concerned with any major changes to the game, will not be a proponent of such a technological advancement, which would be the biggest transformation to the game in decades.
Most owners will agree the financial investment required to add cameras will be one worth making. And with an average ticket price of $26.92 they certainly should have the funds needed to enact the changes. Instant replay should be viewed as an investment in their team and the game of baseball.
With an average game time of nearly three hours, many argue that the use of instant replay would make a perceived slow game even slower. But replays on home run calls have not made a noticeable impact on game time.
"You could start replaying stuff from the first inning on, and then time the game by your calendar," Joe Torre said at the All-Star Game. "That would be crazy. We have a rhythm in this game that we certainly don't want to disrupt.
Umpires should retain the onus they currently have to replay home run calls and should be given the added responsibility of determining whether or not a home run ball is fair or foul.
Aside from home runs, each manager could be given two flags for use during the game, similar to the way replay is used in the National Football League. Once those flags are used, they would be out of challenges.
The managers would be allowed to use the flags as they see fit, for offensive or defensive calls, with the exception of questioning balls and strikes.
These changes may fractionally increase game times, but will also increase the integrity of the game. And these changes are just a start. With technology improving by the second, more efficient ways of utilizing instant replay are sure to follow.
Millions of dollars ride on the outcomes of games and seasons. A missed call could be disastrous for a team on the bubble.
And while most bad calls do not impact the final score of the game players and fans would not want the exception to cost their team a playoff berth or possible world series championship.
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