Can I See That Again?

In July 2005 baseball commissioner attended an Internet chat session carried live by MLB.com. During the session a fan asked the commissioner what his stance was on the use of instant replay within baseball. The commissioner reiterated his stance in October 2005 when a disputed call cost the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim game 2 of the American League Championship Season. Since that time Bud Selig has maintained his negative stance that he first gave in 2005 when he said:

No, I think the human element in baseball is really very important. The umpires for the most part do a wonderful job. Sure, there are controversial decisions as there are in every sport, but I think overall, the umpires have really, really tightened up on everything, and I’m satisfied with the job they are doing right now.

Given the stance by the commissioner it came as a surprise that the General Managers representing the 30 Major League Baseball franchises would broach the subject during their annual meeting in Orlando. Perhaps this is representative of the fact that General Managers have gotten younger and more brazen over the past few years. Gone is the old guard that ran baseball as usual. They have been replaced with younger highly educated and intelligent baseball minds who do not seem to be afraid to take on the baseball establishment if they think it will make the game better. Talking about controversial subjects is one thing but what the General Managers did today was actually put the matter to a vote. When final vote was tallied it ended up 25-5 to make a recommendation to the Commissioner of baseball to institute instant replay. The use of instant replay would be only in cases of boundary calls to determine whether home runs are fair or foul, if a ball has gone over the fence or hit the top of the fence and bounced back, and whether fans have interfered with potential home runs.

We have a very technologically savvy group of GMs. I was surprised that we had five teams that said no.

Jimmie Lee Solomon – Executive VP Commissioners Office

The recommendation will be presented to the commissioner along with an explanation of how it might be implemented. The commissioner in the past has stated concern that instant replay will introduce delays into the game. In order for this recommendation to stand any chance of being implemented it would need to show how it would not adversely interfere with the flow of the game. Given the extremely conservative nature of Major League Baseball it seems improbable that instant replay would find its way into the game any time soon. It does seem interesting that the General Managers are willing to take on issues within the game that may not be popular with those in the commissioner’s office.


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