x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 20 January 2018

Should instant-replay pressure be on officials in MLB?

The issue should be about umpiring mistakes, not managerial mistakes, writes Gregg Patton.

Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig speaks during a news conference following baseball meetings at the Otesaga Hotel on Thursday, Aug. 15, 2013, in Cooperstown, N.Y. (AP Photo/Mike Groll) *** Local Caption *** Baseball Meetings.JPEG-0ce7c.jpg
Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig speaks during a news conference following baseball meetings at the Otesaga Hotel on Thursday, Aug. 15, 2013, in Cooperstown, N.Y. (AP Photo/Mike Groll) *** Local Caption *** Baseball Meetings.JPEG-0ce7c.jpg

Using instant replay to make sure the umpires get it right is an admirable goal.

However, baseball's new proposal to use the power of replay gets it only half right, making it a half-admirable idea.

The new regulation will take effect in 2014 – if approved by the owners, players union and umpires in the off-season. It will enable managers to make challenges on calls, which will be reviewed by league officials on television monitors at a centralised location.

Managers will be allowed one challenge in the first six innings of a game, and two more from the seventh inning on. Ball-and-strike calls cannot be reviewed. If an appeal is successful, the team can hold on to the challenge and use it again.

It is a crummy pressure to put on managers. Sitting in the dugout, they will have to guess the importance of a questionable play, strategically use or hold challenges, then defend their possible strategic mistakes.

The issue should be about umpiring mistakes, not managerial mistakes. If baseball is willing to have officials monitor games, and they witness a blown call, why wait for the managers to appeal? Why not just correct it then and there?

Why force a manager into action when technology has already informed the world of the right call?

Bud Selig, the Major League Baseball commissioner, called the proposal "historic". What they need is something revolutionary.

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