faceoff: should baseball have waited until next season to implement instant replay?

Upon further review, why rush?

August 29, 2008|By BILL ORDINE

So professional baseball has been played for, what, about 140 years, give or take, and has managed to get along without the technological assistance commonly referred to as "instant replay."

Now, suddenly, Major League Baseball has to have instant replay and it has to have it immediately. By immediately, we're talking yesterday.

Most fans are aware that replay will be applied only to home runs - fair or foul, over the fence or still in play, fan interference or not. And it might be a good idea in concept, but what's not a good idea is the timing.

We're told the technology is in place in every ballpark, the central command "war room" in New York is all set and everything is a green light. Right. Ever worked someplace where brand-new technology was introduced?

Seriously, how about starting with spring training? A better idea would have been to put video review in a few spring training ballparks so umpires could get a feel for how this is supposed to work. Give those "war room" guys some practice, too.

Then there's the procedure for when it's used. Only umpire crew chiefs can ask for a review. How unsatisfying will it be if a manager feels there's a questionable homer and the crew chief feels otherwise?

To illustrate how even some managers are in the dark, the Chicago Cubs' Lou Piniella asked, "Do you throw out a red handkerchief or something?"

So at that point in the season when games are particularly crucial for many teams, baseball is going to trot out something it has avoided for the past 15 years or so during the stretch run and playoffs.

And here's the kicker: MLB is so confident in the system, it's not guaranteeing it will be back for 2009.

That trepidation alone suggests baseball should have waited on this.

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