You all remember when Detroit Tigers pitcher Armando Galarraga pitched the first perfect game in Tigers history right? You don’t? Well, it was back in June 2010, but you won’t find it in any record books, because first base umpire Jim Joyce blew a call. Joyce called Jason Donald safe at first with 2 outs in the bottom of the ninth inning in a game where no Cleveland Indians player had reached base yet. Replay showed that Donald was very clearly out, ven at real speed. This play could have easily been overturned if instant replay were in place for more than just homerun calls. Even Joyce admitted just minutes after the game that he blew the call.
According to USA Today, Major League Baseball’s Executive VPs, Joe Torre, and Tony La Russa will be presenting a plan to the Leagues’ owners that will vastly expand instant replay in the game of baseball. The proposed plan would allow for replay to be used on virtually every call, apart from balls or strikes.
USA Today reports that there will be a major cost with implementing this new replay system. They estimate that it will cost between $25 and $40 million. Most of this cost will be associated with the high speed, high definition cameras that will need to be installed in all 30 Major League stadiums. The League will also need to set up a monitoring station in its NYC office, with an umpiring crew on hand to help determine whether or not calls should be overturned.
Deadspin reports that it’s a “safe bet” that managers will be given some sort of challenge option, similar to the NFL, but the specifics have not yet been announced.
Players have voiced their pro-replay stances for some time now. Recently, Tigers’ pitcher Max Sherzer told USA Today Sports “I like what hockey has done, with one central location. I feel like that if we can expand our replay on these bang-bang plays, whether it’s a manager’s challenge or an umpire looking at it quickly, I think it benefits the game.” This proposed plan looks to meet the criteria of Sherzer’s suggestion.
According to USA Today, umpires are for expanded replay too. They compare missed calls in the NFL, where replay immediately reverses them and everyone forgets the guy that made the wrong call to baseball, where we remember the name and face of every umpire that has cost our beloved teams the game. I’m not even a Tigers fan, I’m a Yankees fan, and I’m still talking about Jim Joyce blowing a call over three years ago. They seem to have a point…
Tony La Russa told USA Today that he is optimistic that the plan will be received well by the owners, but an anonymous owner said that he is pessimistic.
I’d love to see replay expanded, and if they combine all of the best parts of the other professional sports’ successful replay policies, I think that it will work wonderfully. Let’s hope that Torre and La Russa can convince the owners that shelling out the dough will be a good investment for the future of the game.
If the owners like the proposed new rules, an agreement between the owners and the Major League Baseball Players Association will need to be reached on how and when these rules will be implemented. The earliest that this could likely happen by would be the start of the 2014 season.