Craig Remsburg column: Expanded baseball replay a good move
It’s a memory most Tigers fans don’t want to have.
Detroit pitcher Armando Galarraga was on the brink of tossing a perfect game in 2010 when first base umpire Jim Joyce erroneously called a runner safe at first base, costing the hurler the “perfecto.”
Television replays showed Joyce made the wrong decision, something he acknowledged afterward.
But the damage had already been done.
Come next season, calls such as Joyce’s will be open to scrutiny via the use of instant replay.
On Thursday, Major League Baseball unanimously approved the expanded use of replay beginning in 2014. It will likely become official at a meeting Jan. 16 after the unions for umpires and players agree to the new rule.
It’s long overdue.
Tradition has long been a cornerstone in baseball, but technology has leapfrogged over some of the sport’s long-standing customs.
Those watching games on TV – and even from the stands via JumboTrons – are already treated to numerous replays. Why not use that technology to make sure calls made by umpires are correct?
The sport has been using replays for potential home runs since 2008. Now, virtually every decision will be up for review, except for called balls and strikes, and checked swings.
Under the proposal, managers will get two challenges a game. After an umpire is notified, the call in question will be reviewed in New York.
The following decision would then be relayed by a headset to the umpiring crew chief. If the challenge is upheld, the team asking for the replay would not be charged toward its game quota.
If a manager is out of challenges, the umpiring crew could call for a review on their own.
Of course, all this will take a lot of the human element out of the sport. Umpires have to make snap decisions and – though overwhelmingly correct most of the time – make a bad call once in a while.
Expanded use of replay may also make managers charging onto the field to argue a call less likely. The late Earl Weaver’s tirades, or those of Lou Piniella, were classics.
Now, all a manager will have to do is make a request for a review to an umpire. It will be all so civilized.
It’s also the right way to go.
“Getting more plays right can only enhance the game,” St. Louis Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak said.
Amen to that.
Craig Remsburg can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 251. His email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.