View Full Version : MLB Seriously Considering Replay For Homeruns

June 15th, 2008, 02:24 AM
Report: Central location for replay

By Barry M. Bloom / MLB.com

An instant replay system currently being considered by Major League Baseball would have videos of disputed home run calls analyzed at a central location in New York City, an umpire's memo obtained by ESPN.com revealed.

MLB is considering instituting the system by the end of the season, the Web site reported on Saturday, citing unnamed sources close to the negotiations. But MLB officials stressed that the system must satisfy everyone from the umpires to the players to Commissioner Bud Selig before it's implemented.

On Friday, USA Today reported on its Web site that the system could be unveiled by Aug. 1. USA Today cited two high-ranking officials within the World Umpires Association.

"It's all still premature," MLB spokesman Rich Levin said on Friday. "A final decision has not been made."

Last November, baseball's general managers voted 25-5 during their annual meeting to at least explore the possibility of using the video technology to help decide disputed home run calls: Fair or foul, in or out of the ballpark.

The GMs determined that they are in favor of one central replay location much like the National Hockey League uses.

The NHL reviews video only to judge disputed goals that are referred by one of the on-ice referees. That league has a central location in Toronto where every goal scored during the regular and postseason -- more than 6,000 -- is reviewed by off-ice officials. One is assigned at a monitor to watch a particular game, meaning that if there are 14 games on a particular night, 14 officials are utilized.

In baseball's case, the replay will be reviewed in a similar central spot located in Major League Baseball's Advanced Media video facilities in Manhattan, ESPN.com reported. The chief of the umpiring crew at each ballpark would communicate with the central location directly.

After a spate of controversial home run calls already this season, a number of GMs are anxious to have it implemented in some shape or form.

"I'm just for getting calls right," said Kenny Williams, the GM of the White Sox. "It's nothing against the umpires or trying to take away the human element of the game. I'm for getting the call right because there's so much at stake. Let's not have something happen at a very pivotal moment that changes the course of history for a particular franchise."

The memo detailed the following ground rules, ESPN.com reported:

An umpire supervisor would serve as a replay coordinator, and would communicate with the crew chief.

The umpires would have access to all video feeds -- television broadcast feeds, home and visiting feeds, and MLB.com. This would allay concerns that a home team television producer would serve as a filter for what replays the umpires can see.

It is expected that retired umpires eventually will play some role in replay supervision.

Major League Baseball believes replay would be used only about 10 times each season.

According to the memo, ESPN.com reported, "the replay official would tell the crew chief what the replay official sees on the video replay or replays -- and would not offer any advice or recommendation as to what the call should be. The crew chief would then decide whether there is 'clear and convincing evidence' that the original call by the crew is correct or incorrect. The original call would be reversed only if the crew chief felt there was a 'clear error' on the original call.

"Furthermore, the crew chief's decision to use or not use instant replay on a particular call would be final, and not subject to second-guessing by team or league personnel. Team personnel would not have any right to demand instant replay. The crew chief's decision on a call after using instant replay would also be final."

Proponents of instant replay argue that any time taken to review the play would be offset by negating the delay on the field while managers argue their point and the umpires meet to study the situation.

"I have been very consistent on that one and have not changed," added Indians GM Mark Shapiro. "We have the ability to get those calls right and the technology to do it as quickly as it takes the umpires to huddle and discuss a call. Putting an umpire in the position to have to make some of those calls is not fair. I can think of no good reason to avoid implementing instant replay for those particular situations."


Barry M. Bloom is a national reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

June 16th, 2008, 03:20 PM
Put a chip in it. Track the ball with sensors in the park activated on impact.

June 16th, 2008, 05:56 PM
When you compare baseball to such sports as tennis and American football, it seems far behind in using technology to reduce error on the field of play.

That resistance to change is viewed by some to be a part of baseball's charm. Well I would like MLB to go further than this narrow use of replay for homeruns and broaden it to include catches in the outfield when uncertain, tags, etc. And if tennis can use technology to determine if a ball is inbounds, why not do the same for balls and strikes (a form of this is already tested and available, but not being considered).