McCollough: Instant replay will get the call right, save managers some cash

Published 7:41 pm Wednesday, April 2, 2014

If you watched a baseball game on Opening Day you were part of history whether you realized it or not.

The 2014 season marks the first time in the 145-year history of Major League Baseball that managers can question an umpire’s call of safe and out without facing repercussion.

Baseball executives voted months ago to expand the use of instant replay in the Majors. Replay was used on home run calls over the past few seasons, but was expanded to include safe/out calls, fair/foul balls in the outfield, timing plays, trapping a ball and hit-by-pitches are now all reviewable plays in America’s Favorite Pastime.

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The baseball fan, and the journalist, in me applaud the MLB’s attempt to do the right thing. Too many times over the past few years have games come down to controversial calls that in the end turned out to be wrong.

We all remember Jim Joyce getting a call wrong at first, ruining Armando Galarraga’s perfect game in the ninth inning. If full replay have been available in 2010, Galarraga would be on the most elite list in the history of the game.

But another part of me doesn’t like the use of replay, because it now changes the way the game has been managed from the dugout for over 140 years.

No longer will we see managers charge up the steps of the dugout to protest a call. We will never see the heated arguments between the crew chief and the head coach.

Fiery managers like Bobby Cox, Lou Pinella and Billy Martin, all routinely tossed for arguing calls to protect players, would have to re-learn how to do so. They would now have to bye time as someone in the dugout looked at the replay before calmly asking the umpire to take a second look.

Baseball is a sport that has longed to engage the key 18-35 demographic. Some call it boring; others say it is too slow to keep their attention.

While baseball did the right thing in enhancing the use of instant replay, it also dealt itself another blow in winning back the younger–aged fans. By necessity, Baseball slowed the game down even more and took out one of the most exciting parts of the game, the ejection.