Baseball and Instant Replay

Gradually baseball is adding instant replay to its game. Today, instant replay can be used to determine whether the call on a home run is correct.

Baseball is now talking about adding instant replay to calls made on balls hit down the foul-lines, deciding whether a ball is trapped or caught on a fly, and deciding safe or out calls at home plate. How much can we use technology in baseball? Of course, the maximum use of technology would be in ball and strike calls. Technology would replace the home plate umpire. I am totally against such an extreme action. See chapter 2, page 7 of the Interesting Facts on

The reason for having instant replay is to get the call correct. Should we follow professional football and allow a manager a certain number of challenges for a game? Before we could do that we must decide which plays are reviewable. Like in football where in the final two minutes of a game instant replay is controlled from the press box; we could have instant replay called from the press box after, arbitrarily, the seventh inning.

Here is what I believe. Since the technology is here, I want the right decision made. The two biggest arguments against instant replay are they would undermine baseball’s traditions and they would increase an already too long baseball game.

As for tradition, what is wrong with the designated hitter or interleague play?

As for the complaint about the extra time, here is what I would do. First, I would create a definite list of reviewable plays. The decision to review would be taken away from managers and the on the field umpires. In the press box an assigned umpire will press a button that would notify the home plate umpire a review is in progress. The final decision would be made upstairs and the results would be called down to the home plate umpire. The decision upstairs must be rendered within two minutes. Since the defined list of reviewable plays is small, this may add between six to eight minutes to a game.

Do you agree with me?  Vote on

Original Comments:

9 Comment(s):

Martin E. Cobern said…

I fully support The Quantum Theory of Umpiring: Three umpires were discussing their tradecraft. The first said, “I call them as I see them. Sometimes I’m right and sometimes I’m wrong.” The second said, “I call them as I see them, and I am always right.” The third said, “Until I call them, THEY DON’T EXIST!” The human element of baseball is what makes it the American game, as compared to the mechanized, dehumanized electronic battlefield of American football. George Carlin said it best.

September 10, 2012 03:01:12


Dr. Stan The Stats Man said…

After seeing the end of the Orioles vs Yankees on Saturday night, September 8, instant replay could have easily fixed the wrong call at first base in which Tex was called out. This was such an important game in deciding the winner of the AL East it is a shame the game ended with a clearly reversible event. There was indisputable evidence to reverse the call.

September 8, 2012 07:34:41


Dennis said…

Could not agree more with Martin’s last statement!!

September 7, 2012 10:48:46


John said…

I believe that instant replay should be used only in certain situations because, what Dennis said is true about not being able to judge a runners speed and an outfielders arm strength. However in certain situations the umpire should be the one to judge such as balls and strikes along with fair or foul balls in the field of play. Using replay for home runs is fine, because they are further hit which makes judging where the ball lands harder.

August 27, 2012 10:05:44


Dennis said…

My only thought on instant replay for foul balls is this: Runner on 2b- hit down a foul line is called foul. Play stops: Replay in fact reveals a fair ball: What do we do here, is it a single a double, does the runner score or stay on 3rd? Make it worse: Bases loaded and same situation? Due to the differences in all players speed and outfielders abilities (range-arm) how do we decide these plays. Some say- make it a ground rule double and run scores. How can we take that human athletic ability out of baseball. HR replay is as far as I want baseball to take IR.

August 27, 2012 05:11:45


Brooks Robinson said…

I agree with you on the MVP awards. A starting pitcher cannot dominate a game everyday. But what about a closer? They can obviously appear much more and if they have a very good year they could change the way the manager thinks and how he navigates through a game with stuff like bunting and other situational choices. Thus having more of an influence on a larger number of games

August 26, 2012 12:14:56


Chris Sbalcio said…

I’m completely for the expansion of instant replay. I believe it should be for home runs, fair/foul, plays at bases/the plate, and possibly catch vs trap. However, the issue I have is with the number of “challenges” that can be used per game, like in the NFL. This would make managers hesitant to use the replay because they might want to save it for a worse call, or allow horrible calls to count. Say Joey Votto hits a go-ahead home run in the clinching game of the World Series, but it’s actually a foul ball. Well, what if Joe Girardi (yes I’m assuming the Yankees in the World Series) has already used all his challenges? The World Series would be ruined and it’s events like that that can ruin the game. So, I say expand replay, but no “challenge limit”. So it takes a little longer, who cares? Games between the Yankees and Red Sox are always 4 hours but we deal with it, so we could deal with another 10 min of instant replay time.

August 24, 2012 10:45:28


Dennis said…

Totally against- the game within the game dictates a quick pace for managers/players as they mentally move from pitch to pitch. Disrupting the game any further will make it worse. Nothing wrong with the old traditional game where mistakes happen and even out over the course of a game and year.

August 14, 2012 11:59:38


Martin Cobern said…

“As for tradition, what is wrong with the designated hitter or interleague play?” Everything!

August 12, 2012 07:32:18

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