Pundits Praise MLB's New Review System, Say Not To Worry About Added Time
Worries that MLB's "groundbreaking expanded use of replay this year will bog down the game with more dead time probably are not necessary," according to Tom Verducci of SI.com. There likely will be "bugs to work out," but the use of expanded replay is the "best thing to happen to baseball since ballpark nachos." MLB now has the "ability to get most calls right." Replay "does away with the shame of a ballgame being decided by an obvious blown call and the resultant ignominy for the umpire." It also "adds another element of strategy," in that managers "get one replay challenge per game" (SI.com, 3/4). In Boston, Steve Buckley writes, "Sign me up for expanded instant replay, and for one simple reason: It insults my intelligence when an outcome is changed, when history is changed, because of a blown call." This "latest baseball innovation is going to be a work in progress, and we all will be subjected to its growing pains." Buckley: "Tough. Deal with it. What matters is that in most cases we’ll get a clean outcome" (BOSTON HERALD, 3/5). ESPN's Bomani Jones said the initial replay challenges during Spring Training games Monday felt like they were "awfully long, and it may not be like that in the regular season." Jones: "But getting it right, as people want, it is going to come with cost and people are going to do some complaining." Dallas Morning News columnist Tim Cowlishaw said the Spring Training replays are not "going to be anything like the real thing" during the regular season and playoffs. Cowlishaw said of one video of a challenged call, "The replay looked like it was from the upper deck. ... You can't really even tell what's going on." But he added teams likely are "going to have a good scout or coach telling the manager, 'Yes, challenge this'" ("Around The Horn," ESPN, 3/4). But the Wall Street Journal's Jason Gay said, "You're talking about a game ... that already has a time issue." Gay: "The idea that you're going to add another hitch to it seems crazy to me" ("Crowd Goes Wild," FS1, 3/4).
MAKING THE CALL: The AP's Steve DiMatteo reported the Indians have hired former minor leaguer Gregg Langbehn to "be their major league replay coordinator." Langbehn will "watch games from the clubhouse and advise on when to challenge an umpire's decision." Indians manager Terry Francona said, "There will be communication to the dugout, I'm assuming it's a hard line. He's going to call us, because if there's something going on, I'm going to have to go out on the field. It will be our responsibility to communicate with him in a timely fashion and then we make our own decisions" (AP, 3/4).