USA Today Sports
Baseball instituted replay review for home runs in 2008. Since then, they've promised pretty much every year that we'll have it for other plays "next year." We've had five "next years" since... where is it?
It's been two or three or four or... well, I don't exactly remember how many years that Major League Baseball has been contemplating replay review for plays beyond home runs, which was instituted late in 2008. The other major North American professional sports have been on board for replay review since 1999 (NFL), 2002 (NBA) and 2003 (NHL). Note: those are the dates for the current systems; those leagues all had some form of replay review before that.
That's a long time. What's baseball waiting for? MLB's executive VP of baseball operations, Joe Torre, says it won't happen this year:
Commissioner Bud Selig told the Los Angeles Times four months ago that expanded replay would be in place for the 2O13 season "for sure." Torre told The Times that the timetable has been delayed one year. "Next year, there will be something, for sure," Torre said. "It’s not like we're afraid to do something. I don't want to do something unless we feel like it's the right thing to do." Torre, who is Selig's point man on the issue, said he understood the commissioner's oft-stated intention to broaden the replay system to include calls of fair balls, foul balls and trapped balls.
Now, Selig is right (surprise, he's right about something) that fair/foul and trapped/caught should be included. So should safe/out calls -- those are the ones most often missed. Speaking of which:
Torre said it became evident that expanded replay should be all-encompassing rather than incremental. He cited one play in particular -- a blown call in the American League championship series, in which Omar Infante of the Detroit Tigers was called safe at second base when replays clearly indicated he had been tagged out.
That's this play:
Which came in the game after this play:
On which the runner was called out, even though he was clearly safe.
Here, I can give you five more reasons just from the last two years (along with the dates of the plays in question) why replay should be instituted rightfreakingnow:
July 17, 2011, runner called safe, he was out
July 26, 2011, runner called safe, he was out
2011 World Series Game 3, runner called safe, he was out
May 2, 2012, runner called out, he was safe
May 28, 2012, batter struck out, ball caught, ruled dropped, at-bat continued, batter eventually got a hit
There's more, but you get the idea. These plays all had varying impacts on games; some of the games could have had different results if the play had been called correctly.
I've written this before, but it bears repeating: the results of the game should reflect what the players actually do on the field, not a decision made by one man, or four men, who have to make decisions in split seconds. Those men do a pretty good job, in general. But they are not always right.
Multiple HD cameras cover every major-league game. There's no reason to wait. Unfortunately, now we have to, while they come up with an excuse to not do it again in 2014.