Major League Baseball announced plans yesterday to expand instant replay.
Starting in 2014, there will be a challenge system that allows team managers to ask for replay reviews.
Commissioner Bud Selig says it’s a “historic day,” but some are worried that eliminating human error will compromise the game.
ROBIN YOUNG, HOST:
It was June 2, 2010. The Detroit Tigers were playing the Cleveland Indians, Tigers pitcher Armando Galarraga heading towards a perfect game, then this.
(SOUNDBITE OF BROADCAST)
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Ground ball. Right side. He's out. No, he's safe.
YOUNG: Out. No, safe. The Indians' Jason Donald was called safe, although clearly out, and Galarraga denied his perfect game. If only they'd had instant replay. Well, the league does have it for home run calls, but yesterday it announced plans to expand instant replay to almost every questionable play, except balls and strikes. What will this mean for the game? Bob Nightingale is USA Today baseball columnist. Bob, you start your article with: Hello, 21st century, Major League Baseball finally coming your way. How will it work?
BOB NIGHTINGALE: There's going to be an office in New York and the manager is going to be allowed three replays per game. So he feels like a wrong call's been made, he can tell the umpire I want that reviewed. They'll look at the video footage in New York. And that person in New York manning the video will tell the umpire crew you're call was either correct or incorrect.
YOUNG: And as you say, these managers get just three requests a game. If the manager is right that it was a bad call, do they get their challenge back?
NIGHTINGALE: Yeah. If you're right, you can actually have infinity number of challenges.
YOUNG: Right. But as you know, this becomes just another thing for fans to criticize managers for. Oh, you should've called a challenge, or he shouldn't have wasted the challenge.
NIGHTINGALE: No, exactly right, Robin. And the managers aren't, you know, really embracing the idea because of that. It puts more pressure on them, more burden, more responsibility.
YOUNG: Well, not everybody is criticizing it. You quote the Tampa Bay Rays manager, Joe Maddon, who says of course I like this new rule starting in 2014. I like flat-screen TVs too.
YOUNG: He's like, you know, get with it.
NIGHTINGALE: Right. I think at one point, maybe not the 2014 season, we'll actually see those replays on the scoreboard. So the fans can get excited too.
YOUNG: Well, but what about the opposition? Rusty Kath, who announces for the Tampa Bay Rays, tweeted his thoughts: Human error is part of the great game. Wade Bends(ph) tweets: The rules would suck the life out of baseball. This kind of woe is me, the call went against me is a part of the game, isn't it?
NIGHTINGALE: It's an unfortunate part if you're the umpire. The trouble now with, you know, with Twitter and blogs and Facebook, you make the wrong call, you know, your life can be ruined. Don Denkinger made a horrible call in 1985, cost the St. Louis Cardinals the World Series championship, and he ended up getting a ton of death threats.
YOUNG: So you say this is better for them to get a second chance. But will it, as the league says, speed up the game?
NIGHTINGALE: Well, you're going to have less arguments with the umpires and managers, which is always fun. I mean in the old days of Earl Weaver yelling and spitting with an umpire at home plate or Lou Piniella picking up a bag and kicking it across the field, you're kind of miss that because if you have an argument, just go ahead and challenge it.
YOUNG: Oh, well, they say that they're going to be able to do these reviews in less than 90 seconds. It'd be interesting to see if anything in baseball goes that fast, so we'll see.
Bob Nightingale, USA Today baseball columnist, thanks so much.
NIGHTINGALE: Thank you, Robin.
YOUNG: And, Meghna, I just have one other thought others might have as well. Here we are sitting in Boston. All of these replays are coming from New York.
MEGHNA CHAKRABARTI, HOST:
YOUNG: What's that going to mean?
CHAKRABARTI: Well, baseball fans, tell us what you think it does mean at hereandnow.org.
YOUNG: You're listening to HERE AND NOW. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.
Jeremy Hobson joins Robin Young as co-host of Here & Now in its new 2-hour format, from WBUR and NPR.
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