SBD/January 20, 2014/Leagues and Governing Bodies

Welcome To The 21st Century: MLB Continues To Garner Praise For Expanded Replay

While reaction has been largely positive, some fear losing the human element
MLB's decision to expand instant replay for the '14 season continues to generate discussion around the country. In Denver, Troy Renck wrote MLB made a "terrific move." While it is "not a perfect system," it is "a start." Renck: "As is showing the close plays on the stadium video board. It was foolish to pretend controversial plays never happened" (DENVER POST, 1/19). In Baltimore, Peter Schmuck wrote the decision is the "correct one for our time." It is "fair to examine what we are sacrificing on the altar of getting it right." The new system "should go a long way toward accomplishing that goal." But it would be "wise to remember it is the human element that fills the space between each pitch," and MLB "diminishes that at its own peril" (BALTIMORESUN.com, 1/18). ESPN's Israel Gutierrez said, "Umpires being overruled by fellow umpires in a command center in New York could get a little awkward. But better that than live with a horrible call the rest of your life, right Jim Joyce?" (“The Sports Reporters,” ESPN2, 1/19). In Newark, Barry Federovitch asked of MLB Commissioner Bud Selig, "What took him so long? Other sports have embraced the replay for years, and baseball has been ridiculously slow to react in part because of the overwhelming strength of its umpiring union. ... Why should balls and strikes be so variable?" The "whim of the strike zone is false propaganda." Until MLB "adds these elements to the replay, it will always be jeopardizing its own integrity, a trait it has fought so hard to establish" (NJ.com, 1/19). In Jacksonville, Joe Daraskevich writes replay expansion "marks the beginning of a great new era in the game." Daraskevich: "But I can't help feeling bad for the umpires now that the future has arrived." Selig "needs to make a move before the season to alleviate some of the uncertainty about the future of umpires" (JACKSONVILLE.com, 1/20).

UNION UNREST? In N.Y., William Rhoden asked, "When will baseball, which only belatedly acknowledged its role in creating the steroid era, take its medicine?" Suspended Yankees 3B Alex Rodriguez could "continue pushing back against baseball’s assault on players’ rights and, at the same time, galvanize a once powerful, but lately listless, players union." MLB's "pursuit of Rodriguez was aimed as much at exploiting a vacuum of leadership in the union as at targeting a cheat" (N.Y. TIMES, 1/18). ESPN.com's Tim Keown wrote under the header, "Taking Credit Where It Isn't Due." It is "nearly laughable for MLB, which conducted itself like a rogue agency, to expect backslaps for its work on the Biogenesis front," and it is "even more laughable for it to initiate the slapping." If Selig can "convince enough people that nailing A-Rod's skin to the wall makes him the conquering hero of PEDs, good on him" (ESPN.com, 1/17).

PLAYERS' BEST INTEREST: In Boston, Nick Cafardo wrote MLBPA Exec Dir Tony Clark is "asserting himself as a formidable replacement for the late Michael Weiner." Clark has "taken a strong stand on A-Rod concerning his suit against the union, and is also holding off approving instant replay because MLB has sprung a few extras into the proposal for which he needs player approval" (BOSTON GLOBE, 1/19).
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