Baseball to start using replay tomorrow

Decision drawing mixed reception

reviews to be limited to disputed calls on home runs

August 27, 2008|By Dan Connolly | Dan Connolly,dan.connolly@baltsun.com

After months of discussion, Major League Baseball is implementing limited instant replay beginning tomorrow - a decision that is getting mixed reactions.

The last of the four major team sports to embrace instant replay, baseball will use it only to resolve disputes about whether home runs clear the fence or are fair or foul.

"Finally, somebody is going to help the umpires," Chicago White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said. "If you make the right decision, somebody is going to be mad. You make the wrong decision and somebody is really going to be mad. That is going to help baseball. That is going to help the umpires. ... I'm glad they did it."

But not everyone was so thrilled.

"I don't like it," Orioles manager Dave Trembley said. "The game is the game. Let the game be pure in what it is."

He added: "I guess if they can move into a new Yankee Stadium, they can have instant replay. The game is evolving, much to my chagrin."

Although Trembley said he's OK with the border-call experimentation, he warns that it must be ready before its implementation - which will happen for the Orioles on Friday at Tampa Bay.

"They better be sure that they've got the kinks worked out," Trembley said. "Otherwise, they are going to set themselves up for some embarrassing situations that could possibly occur. And I don't think Major League Baseball, at this particular point in time, needs that."

Baseball's advanced media office in New York will collect the videos, and an on-site representative will assist crew chiefs if a call needs to be reviewed.

Trembley would prefer that baseball just add two umpires to each crew, as it does for the postseason. He also wasn't a fan of the timing.

"I find it very strange that ... with 30 games to go in the season, that they would start it now. I find that very peculiar," Trembley said. "If they wanted it so bad, what took them so long to get it going and why wait until this particular point in time?"

General managers agreed to enact limited instant replay 10 months ago, but several aspects had to be agreed upon, including approval from the umpires and players unions. It will last through the 2008 playoffs but is not guaranteed for 2009.

Players union chief Donald Fehr said in a statement that his association has from the World Series' end until Dec. 10 to request bargaining on the issue.

"Following the World Series, the players will review the matter and then determine what course to take for the future," Fehr said.

Orioles second baseman Brian Roberts, the club's union representative, said: "I don't think there is anything wrong with it. If there is one call you want them to get right, it's a home run."

But there is a limit - it should never be applied to balls and strikes, he said.

"It'll never come to that," he said. "That's part of the game. It's not always a fun part, but it is part of it."

If nothing else, Guillen said, instant replay should curtail the incessant media coverage of certain blown calls.

"We won't have to watch TV for two hours talking about the same thing," he joked.

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