SBD/Issue 21/Leagues & Governing Bodies

Call For Expanded MLB Replay Grows Louder With Playoff Mishaps

Repeated Close Calls In Postseason Have
Re-Ignited Talks Of Adding More Replay
The first week of the MLB Playoffs has seen several controversial calls that may have factored into the outcome of games, and the league should start using instant replay "for a wide array of calls" after more than a year of "excellent results with instant-replay use on home runs," according to Buster Olney of ESPN.com. MLB Commissioner Bud Selig last week reiterated that he is "open to making changes," and this is one change "he should implement as soon as possible." Olney: "If it's possible to do it for the World Series, they should start making preparations now." MLB could "simply expand the list of reviewable" situations to include calls on bases, tag plays, fair/foul balls and "plays that stem from situations around home plate." There "should not be replay on ball or strike calls, or check-swing calls" (ESPN.com, 10/10). SI.com's Jon Heyman noted umpire Phil Cuzzi acknowledged making a mistake during the 11th inning of Twins-Yankees ALDS Game 2 on Friday, and baseball "looks bad to have this happen a day" after umpire C.B. Bucknor "missed multiple calls at first base in the Angels' Game 1 victory over the Red Sox." MLB "needs to do a few things," such as determine "whether it's worthwhile to have umpires down the outfield lines" (SI.com, 10/10). On Long Island, Anthony Rieber wrote MLB should replace umpires along the foul lines with someone "in the press box and be the 'replay umpire.'" Whenever the umpire "sees a blatant error, he buzzes down, halts play and takes a look at it" (NEWSDAY, 10/11).

NO TIME LIKE THE PRESENT: In N.Y., Mike Vaccaro wrote under the header, "Lack Of Replay Is A Major League Foul-Up." Why does MLB -- "in an age of high-definition, in a time when ballgames are televised by using more than a dozen cameras all over ballparks" -- only allow "home runs to be replayed?" Getting calls "right, especially in October, shouldn't just be a wish, it should be a requirement" (N.Y. POST, 10/11). YAHOO SPORTS' Jeff Passan wrote MLB should "take the cue from football" for its use of instant replay. Passan: "Use a red replay flag. Each team gets two per game." Nobody inside MLB "wants a postseason defined by its umpiring screw-ups, and yet year after year, they happen. ... Ignoring the issue won't make it go away" (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 10/10). SI.com's Joe Posnanski wrote replay is "inescapable now because these playoffs have been an umpiring disaster." While it is "probably just a bad run of high-profile missed calls," it has "felt like an epidemic." This is the "sort of thing that gets people talking," and the "arguments against replay don't make a whole lot of sense" (SI.com, 10/10). ESPN’s Tim Kurkjian said, "If we go too far with this, the rhythm of the game is really going to be damaged. ... If you can find a way to do this without disrupting the game and the rhythm of the game, I’m all for it. I just don’t know if you can.” But ESPN’s Eduardo Perez, noting the missed fair ball call in Yankees-Twins, said, “When it’s blatant like this, something has to be done” (“Baseball Tonight,” ESPN2, 10/11).

KICKIN' IT OLD SCHOOL: In N.Y., William Rhoden writes MLB needs a "great World Series, a Series for the ages," and a Dodgers-Yankees matchup "could take the game back to its roots at a time when baseball desperately needs to recover a portion of the trust, if not the innocence, that it has lost in the steroid era." The two "venerable franchises competing in a World Series would recall an era in baseball when things seemed simpler and the game was more pure." That matchup would include Yankees 3B Alex Rodriguez and Dodgers LF Manny Ramirez, "two great players who had admitted culpability and moved on." The matchup would represent a "line of demarcation, that the game was ready to get past one of the most painful episodes in its history" (N.Y. TIMES, 10/12).

WEATHER OR NOT: In St. Petersburg, Tom Jones noted MLB delayed this season because of the WBC in March, and "can you imagine how cold it might be two weeks from now in New York, Philadelphia and Denver -- all cities that could still be hosting baseball games?" MLB might need to "schedule more day-night doubleheaders during the season." Teams could "still have full gates for 81 home games, but if they could knock even a week out of the regular-season schedule, it might help avoid some of the chilly weather" (TAMPABAY.com, 10/11).

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