It seems that Major League Baseball is giving instant replay a second look.
Jayson Stark of ESPN reports that MLB plans to try out the video review process during the upcoming Arizona Fall League season. If it goes OK, they might continue the experiment during the 2009 World Baseball Classic & next year’s spring training games. And if all goes well, instant replay might be in the big league ballparks for the following regular season.
So, why the change of heart on a controversial issues? Could be the recent rash of wrong home run calls:
On Sunday night, umpires at Yankee Stadium reversed their correct call and concluded a shot by Carlos Delgado of the Mets was foul.
A night later, umps in Houston mistakenly ruled a ball hit by the Cubs’ Geovany Soto off a center-field wall was in play when it should have been a home run. Soto turned the hit into an inside-the-park home run anyway.
And on Wednesday night, a ball hit by Alex Rodriguez that struck a stairway beyond the outfield fence and bounced back into the outfield was ruled a double when it should have been a home run.
We bet if the Mets, Cubs & Yanks hadn’t been involved, there probably wouldn’t be as big of concern about the questionable calls.
Of course, instant replay will have its naysayers - traditionalists don’t want the integrity of the game spoiled, while more casual fans think the games are long enough without umps spending time at the video booth.
But we believe there may be more sinister concerns with using video reviews. Namely, home team networks (especially those owned by the clubs) might not be as fair with showing the best replays to the umps.
Would the YES Network betray the Bronx Bombers? Would NESN rat out the Red Sox? Would WGN compromise the Cubbies?
Think of the advertisers! Think of their revenue!