Major League Baseball is the only one of the four major North American sports that hasn't gone to complete replay review of all critical calls, even though we've needed it for the better part of a decade, and there have been some egregiously bad moments within the last two weeks.
Now, MLB has announced we'll have it in 2014. But don't count on that:
Once again Thursday, MLB upped the expectations that replay is coming, while at the same time slightly lowering expectations that it will get here by next season. MLB executive vice president Joe Torre said his committee gave the owners an update at their meeting Thursday morning, but wasn't yet ready to make any recommendations. While Torre expressed hope that a recommendation could be made the next time the owners meet, in August, commissioner Bud Selig stayed far away from any guarantees. "Time will tell," Selig said. "The more issues they raise, the more complex it gets. I'm not going to make any predictions [about next year]."
Oh, for heaven's sakes. "The more complex it gets"? Major League Baseball already owns a state-of-the-art television studio and complex in New Jersey. Staff it with retired umpires at first, then train younger people to do it, put some 70-inch monitors in front of them and give the crews at the ballparks cellphones. You know, those things that you can communicate wirelessly with over long distances? How freaking hard is this?
Review the following calls: fair/foul, safe/out, trapped/caught, and home runs (the only things that are currently reviewable). Let managers ask for reviews through the first six innings, after that all reviews are mandatory (similar to the NFL's last-two-minute review rule). There. All summed up in just one paragraph.
Seriously, Bud, this ain't that hard. It could be in place within a couple of weeks, if you really wanted to get your head out of the 1970s and into the modern era.
In the meantime, ESPN.com's Jayson Stark has eight ways to improve umpiring. Thoughtful, and some things that hadn't been mentioned before, and doing them would go a long way toward giving the umpires credibility -- and accountability.