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Baseball: instant replay for mlb...say it ain't so

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posted on Nov, 10 2004 @ 08:59 PM
Could baseball be ready to give instant replay a look?

By BEN WALKER, AP Baseball Writer
November 10, 2004
KEY BISCAYNE, Fla. (AP) -- Brian Cashman wanted to make this perfectly clear: The umpires were correct when they called Alex Rodriguez out for interference on that crazy play during the AL championship series.

``They got it completely right, 100 percent,'' the New York Yankees' general manager said this week.

``But you would hate to have a game, or a series or even a season come down to a play where they miss it and instant replay could have helped,'' he said. ``So as far as instant replay, I'm in favor of it.''

Now, after a pennant race and postseason dotted with reversed rulings, baseball will get another chance to see who else wants to give replay a look.

The topic is on the agenda for Thursday at the GM meetings. And there seems to be growing support among teams to join the NFL, NBA and NHL in using instant replay on calls such as fair or foul and homer or not, but definitely not balls and strikes.

``I think its time has come,'' Milwaukee assistant Gord Ash said. ``The technology has improved and is there. I think there's a place for it.''

Even if replay comes up for a formal vote -- it did not go very far last year when GMs debated it -- there's no assurance it would show up during games anytime soon.

``I don't see it,'' Bob Watson, vice president of on-field operations, said Wednesday. ``And I don't think the commissioner is in favor of it, either.''

Earlier in the day, GMs were briefed on plans to play a spring training game next March in Athens -- Baltimore probably would be involved -- and efforts to hold a World Cup-style tournament in early 2006.

They also talked about letting teams trade first-round draft choices and were told to be vigilant in verifying the ages of players signed in the Dominican Republic and Venezuela.

But with so many procedural issues to sift through this week, the prospect of adding instant replay is intriguing.

The Cincinnati Reds asked that replay be included on the agenda. Their executives have talked about it internally for a couple of years, and they've heard from other clubs lately.

``I think there seems to be some level of understanding that getting the play right is what underscores this thought process,'' Reds GM Dan O'Brien said. ``I don't think any of us have any idea of a timetable.''

Said Brad Kullman, the Reds' director of major league operations: ``It doesn't make sense that you might have a million fans out there watching on TV and knowing what happened while the umpires huddle without that benefit.''

That said, there's no guarantee that umpires would want it.

``My sense is no,'' said former ump Richie Garcia, now an umpire supervisor. ``I think we'd be fooling around with something that would take away from the game.

``Baseball is very traditional, but I'm not going to rule it out,'' he said.

Garcia worried that not every ballpark would be equipped with equal cameras to show replays from all angles. He also said he thought the concept of umpires huddling on close calls helped ``take away the idea of instant replay.''

Garcia was involved in one of the most disputed calls in October memory. He was working the right-field line in the 1996 ALCS when young fan Jeffrey Maier reached over the wall and grabbed the ball before Baltimore's Tony Tarasco could make a play, and it wound up as a home run for Derek Jeter.

This year, the umps eventually did make the right calls in key spots at the end of the year.

In mid-September, Manny Ramirez circled the bases after his drive to left field was ruled fair. Moments later, the umpires correctly said the Boston star's shot hooked foul.

In Game 6 of the ALCS, Mark Bellhorn's drive to left field was originally ruled in play after it hit a fan in the front row at Yankee Stadium. After the umpires got together, it was rightly called a home run.

Later in that game, Rodriguez wound up on second base after he swatted at Boston pitcher Bronson Arroyo's arm and knocked the ball loose. After all six umpires huddled, plate umpire Joe West said he had a better view than first-base ump Randy Marsh and called Rodriguez out.

New Seattle manager Mike Hargrove thinks replay on such plays might help.

``They got it right with A-Rod, but it could be a benefit,'' he said. ``I mean, I don't want to see us spend 15 minutes waiting on whether a ball is fair or foul. And not on balls and strikes. But I could see it happening on selected plays.''

Atlanta GM John Schuerholz looked forward to Thursday morning's debate.

``I think it's an appropriate topic to discuss,'' he said. ``With modern technology, it's worth talking about.

``I'm not sure how I ultimately feel about it,'' he said. ``But I'm open-minded, and want to hear what people have to say.''

posted on Nov, 10 2004 @ 10:05 PM
Can it really slow donw the game? doubtful, so why not? The people at home get to see what actually happens, so why not the officials at the games?

posted on Nov, 11 2004 @ 12:06 AM
someday we're not gonna make calls at all, we're just going to rely on the computer or something like that. why can't we just stay away from technology. refs are part of the game.

posted on Nov, 12 2004 @ 03:25 PM
Baseball GMs split vote, won't review instant replay just yet

KEY BISCAYNE, Fla. -- Upon further review, baseball will hold off on taking a look at instant replay.

After watching umpires reverse almost every missed call in the postseason, major-league general managers split 15-15 Thursday on whether to keep exploring the subject.

"Based on that vote, it's unlikely we'll do anything substantive in the next year to pursue instant replay," MLB executive vice president Sandy Alderson said.

The NFL, NBA and NHL all use some form of replay. Baseball commissioner Bud Selig is adamantly against it and can veto any proposal by anyone to give it a try.

"I understand that vote today, that there are people who want to keep looking at it," Selig said. "I'm not afraid to change. You never say never.

"But the humanness of the umpires is part of the game," he said. "I'm satisfied where it is. I just don't think it would be a positive addition."

Replay opponents got a boost in October when umpires overturned a pair of rulings in Game 6 of the AL Championship Series. TV gave fans a clear view of what happened -- once the six umps huddled, it came into focus for them, too, and Alex Rodriguez was declared out because of interference on one play and Mark Bellhorn got a home run on the other.

"Had they gotten those calls wrong, would there have been more interest in pursuing instant replay? There might've been," Alderson said.

With that issue over for now, GMs turned their attention back to the main business at hand. That is, looking at trades and free agents.

Chicago Cubs slugger Sammy Sosa seemed to interest the New York Mets, and those teams talked for a second straight day, holding a late-afternoon session. Randy Johnson may want to leave the cost-cutting Arizona Diamondbacks for a contender. And there was speculation the Texas Rangers would consider dealing Alfonso Soriano.

"Once you get to a second meeting, things can happen," Mets GM Omar Minaya said.

Roger Clemens and Pat Hentgen became the last two of 207 players to file for free agency. Starting Friday, clubs can talk money with any free agent.

The New York Yankees, as always, figure to be extremely active. Their immediate targets will be center fielder Carlos Beltran and pitchers Carl Pavano, Eric Milton and Ron Villone.

Other teams packed up and headed home from the session that began Monday. The gathering ends Friday morning, with a briefing from MLB security head Kevin Hallinan on issues related to kidnapping concerns in other countries, and a few other topics.

Alderson and umpire supervisor Rich Rieker made a presentation to the GMs on Thursday, showing that nine-inning games were played in an average of two hours, 47 minutes, up a minute from 2003.

In something that could someday lead to a speed up, the Arizona Fall League is experimenting with a rule requiring hitters to keep one foot in the batter's box, rather than stepping out after each pitch. The penalty is an automatic strike, and Alderson said the rule might get a tryout in a low minor league next season.

Alderson said that according to the QuesTec computer system, umpires correctly called more than 93 percent of the 120,026 pitches that were either judged balls or strikes. And they said that all 68 umpires met the expected standard of at least 90 percent.

The percentage was much more mixed when it came to instant replay, which could be used on "boundary calls" -- whether a ball was fair or foul, or whether it cleared a wall or not.

Cincinnati Reds GM Dan O'Brien spoke in favor, Expos GM Jim Bowden spoke against.

"I was the first one for it, back when the NFL went to replay about seven years ago. The first time it came up for a vote, I was the only one who voted for it," Bowden said. "But now, the umpires showed they can get it right. There are no egos anymore, with an umpire standing on his call."

Said O'Brien: "It's still unresolved."

Along with the Rodriguez and Bellhorn plays, umpires reversed a ruling in Game 1 of the opening round between New York and Minnesota, taking away a home run from the Yankees' Ruben Sierra after his foul ball initially was called fair.

The only postseason play the umpires missed after a huddle came in Game 3 of the NL first-round series between St. Louis and Los Angeles.

Dodgers pitcher Jose Lima bunted, and the ball bounced up and again hit his bat as he left the batter's box, meaning it should have been ruled a foul ball or he should have been called out. Instead, the play continued and Lima reached base when Cardinals missed on a force play at second base.

As for future GMs votes on replay, Alderson said, it's "year to year."

posted on Nov, 12 2004 @ 04:20 PM
it may not be so bad if it's just for foul balls and such.

posted on Nov, 12 2004 @ 06:41 PM
i would hate to see instant replay come to baseball, leave the human element in the game, as the studies show the umps get it right most of the time, let the umps call em as they see em...

posted on Nov, 13 2004 @ 03:38 AM
I suppose in extreme cases at the end of a game, it could be used...but otherwise I am 100% against it.

posted on Nov, 13 2004 @ 10:28 PM
what would we have to talk about if we couldn't complain about the refs? they complain in football anyway.

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