Major League Baseball, in its constant search to shorten games, is considering implementing a completely unnecessary change to make games longer. They’ll have conversations with the umpire leadership to set up a system where an on-field umpire takes the microphone and explains the results of a replay review to fans in the stands at home a la the NFL and NHL.
This kernel of a bad idea is still in the infancy age.
Under one possible scenario, they would start at the All-Star Game on July 11 in Miami, tweak the process over the season’s second half and then go forward with the experiment in the playoffs.
People familiar with the talks spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because an agreement has not yet been reached.
Last year, MLB asked for the plate ump to wear a mic at the All-Star Game, but there wasn’t enough time to do it.
I’ve moved from exasperation to a begrudging respect for the big baseball minds who talk breathlessly about pace of play while at the same time ensuring games take longer. There’s something admirable about their belief fans don’t realize replay reviews are far more significant timewise than, say, throwing four pitches for an intentional walk. There’s something admirable about pushing to include this new wrinkle (which no one needs) into the game while, on the other end of the spectrum, putting forth a product that has writers openly pushing to turnover centuries of tradition and allow ties.
Umpires being forced into public speaking to explain why an off-site crew ruled they way they did will add nothing to the game. A great majority of replays are self-explanatory. We can see when the ball beat the runner or a player over-slid the bag and was tagged out. We understand when there may be some visual evidence to suggest reversal but not enough to overturn the call.
It might be an overreaction, but something like this strikes me as offensive. How little does Major League Baseball think of me that they need to go frame-by-frame as the game is delayed to walk me through the call? More importantly, what’s the end goal?
No explanation will suffice for an angry hometown crowd that just got the wrong end of a judgement call. The boos will persist. If introduced, this charade will quickly turn into a gigantic game of shoot the messenger.
More importantly, knowing what the eyes in New York saw won’t do anything to change the final call. The call is the call. Ask any NFL fan if they’ve gotten closure coming out of a replay review. Or, more specifically, if that closure was only made possible by a long-winded legal brief from Ed Hochuli.
Look, I disagree with many of MLB’s new introductions but I respect that they believe pace of game is a real problem. It would just be much easier to take them seriously and give them some leeway if they didn’t constantly ignore the elephant in the room of replay’s lengthening of the game. Adding neededless time to those frequent delays seems like a step in the opposite direction for very little benefit.