Thursday, May 22, 2008

Instant Replay in MLB by Next Season?

According to Jayson Stark at ESPN, we could possibly see instant replay in Major League Baseball as early as next season:

Major League Baseball is making tentative plans to experiment with instant replay in the Arizona Fall League, according to a baseball official with knowledge of those discussions.

If that experiment proves practical and successful, MLB then is likely to continue the experiment next March during the World Baseball Classic and spring training games.

If no insurmountable problems arise, baseball could begin using replay -- though only to decide home run calls -- as soon as next season.

A top baseball official confirmed to The Associated Press Thursday that he will formulate a proposal for instant replay, although he wouldn't put a timetable on a replay plan.

"The times are such that our fans are used to seeing all the high technology and they're used to seeing the other sports that use these systems to make determinations, and the fans are clamoring for all the sports to look at that," said Jimmie Lee Solomon, the sport's executive vice president for baseball operations.

What is yet to be determined is whether calls would be reviewed by a "replay umpire" in each stadium, as the National Football League does, or in the MLB offices in New York, a system that would more resemble the National Hockey League's.

I think starting with reviewing controversial home run calls is a good start. If you're wondering if calls like bang-bang plays at any base or home plate will ever be reviewed, my guess is no, or at least not in the near future. However, starting with reviewing possible home-run calls is a good start and could lead to future instant replay opportunities.

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