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MLB’s proposed expanded replay to include a challenge system. This is idiotic.

Aug 15, 2013, 9:34 AM EDT

We learned yesterday that Major League Baseball is considering adding expanded replay for the playoffs this year. Eric Fisher of Sports Business Journal reports a critical detail. A very, very stupid critical detail:

Why must there be a challenge system? The entire point of replay is to get calls right, not to only get calls right when a manager decides to employ a certain strategy. Put in a challenge system and the manager has to decide: “hmmm, should I say something about that obvious mistake the umpires just made, or should I let if pass in case there’s another mistake later?”  It’s a total passing of the buck.

It also adds more of what MLB is trying to get rid of with replay: managers on the field, interrupting the flow of the game, arguing things. Only now instead of calls they’ll be arguing about challenges.  And if a manager uses up his challenge because of earlier screwups, he’ll just come out and argue about later screwups the old fashioned way. This also creates a greater potential for even more adversarial umpire-manager-player interactions, as it not only increases the amount of managers and players second guessing umps, it DEMANDS that they do, which will certainly impact umpire habits and demeanor.

Take some friggin’ ownership over your officials, Major League Baseball. Make getting calls right their responsibility, not the manager’s responsibility.  This is absolutely stupid.

UPDATE: Baseball has made a statement about this system. The statement may be stupider than the proposal itself. I take a whack at it here.

  1. deweyks - Aug 15, 2013 at 12:33 PM

    Sounds like a system that umpires might abuse (I’m looking at you, Angel).

    “You challenge my call, eh. Alright, my next ruling or three definitely goes against you”!

    • kevinbnyc - Aug 15, 2013 at 1:45 PM

      Sounds like a system managers could abuse as well. A pitcher is having a tough time? Why not challenge some random call to delay the game and give your bullpen time to warm up.

  2. serbingood - Aug 15, 2013 at 12:39 PM

    In a perfect world I’ll take a Challenge System if San Jose can get the A’s. That’s called a compromise and is good for the integrity of Baseball. The strike zone would be monitored by computers for uniformity with the Home Plate umpire being responsible for calling plays at the plate and infield.

    Selig’s legacy can be he finally cleaned up PED, Instant Replay and the A’s can at some point in the future play in a real baseball stadium.

    In the real world I could care less about ‘Bud’, the A’s will continue to play in Oakland and instant replay if implemented will be screwed up for at least a year or two before MLB comes to its senses if it ever had any to come back to.

  3. amhendrick - Aug 15, 2013 at 1:16 PM

    The number of challenges each manager gets in the World Series should depend on how many runs his league scored in the All-Star game.

  4. artisan3m - Aug 15, 2013 at 1:52 PM

    I don’t see expanded replay having much chance. I think MLB umpires will simply walk if their autonomy is subject to review. Current reviews are at the call of the umpiring crew ~ not a manager, player, or some super ump in a booth somewhere. Umpire decisions are deemed by them as being infallible and it will take some sort of a mental ‘clear’ to erase that assumption from their minds.

  5. papazoid - Aug 15, 2013 at 6:39 PM

    this is a huge step in the right direction. it would fix 89% of the previous blown calls. preferring to do nothing and waiting until each and every person is 100% satisfied is stupid.

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