MLB To Study Expansion Of Instant Replay During World Baseball Classic
Several MLB officials will travel to World Baseball Classic games in Miami this month "to explore potential options for an extensive expansion of instant replay," according to sources cited by Jayson Stark of ESPN.com. The officials plan to "observe which camera angles are used, determine how long it takes to see a definitive replay of close plays and estimate the amount of time it would take to review controversial calls using various systems under consideration." MLB has "all but abandoned plans to limit reviews to only fair/foul and trap/catch calls." The league is "now considering scenarios for reviewing a much wider spectrum of calls, including calls at home plate and calls on the bases." MLB still is in the "early stages of exploring which calls to review and the format under which to review them." MLB Commissioner Bud Selig recently said that the league has "run out of time to implement any changes before Opening Day." But Stark writes a "vast expansion of replay is now widely viewed within baseball circles as being likely for next season." Some officials "haven't given up hope on implementing some changes as early as midseason this year" (ESPN.com, 3/4).
CONQUERING THE WORLD? In N.Y., Tyler Kepner wrote part of the "puzzle facing Major League Baseball as it stages its global showcase" is that "none of the 16 Japanese players who appeared in the major leagues last season will participate" in this year's WBC. Many players "send mixed signals to fans about the importance of the event." The U.S. has "never played for the title, and the lack of enthusiasm of some players -- many fearing injury, despite no evidence that participation leads to greater risk -- is an obvious reason." MLB Senior VP/Int'l Business Operations Paul Archey said, “There are challenges, for sure. But we’ve only had two of these tournaments. It’s very young in its evolution. The objective is to give baseball a platform to help us grow the game globally.” Archey said that to that end, the WBC has "been an overwhelming success." Kepner notes a stadium "is under construction in Amsterdam," while attendance "is booming in the Korea Baseball Organization" and MLB now has TV partners in China. Archey said that the WBC had "generated more than" $22M for int'l federations (N.Y. TIMES, 3/2).
TAKING ITS LICKS: In San Jose, Mark Purdy writes under the header, "Why Should We Care About The WBC Tournament?" The WBC champion will be determined March 19 in the title game at AT&T Park, but Purdy asks, "Champion of what? You can't say the champion of all baseball on earth. Not when the best players aren't on the field." Giants P Matt Cain and C Buster Posey, Tigers P Justin Verlander, Angels CF Mike Trout and Nationals CF Bryce Harper are all "sitting out the WBC." It is a "bit different for international players, most of whom answer their country's call." Purdy: "How do you build up enthusiasm for a 'championship' that your sport's best customers know has such a fat asterisk attached?" Purdy continues, "If the WBC is not the ultimate global baseball event, what is it? And why should we care very much?" (SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS, 3/5). In Boston, Dan Shaughnessy sarcastically writes, "Don't try to call me during the World Baseball Classic games. I'm glued to the MLB Network. Isn't everybody?" (BOSTON GLOBE, 3/5).