When it was first announced that Major League baseball was going to use replays for close calls I was a little skeptical.
I’ll admit I am somewhat of a traditionalist when it comes to the game I enjoyed playing as a kid and still like to watch.
So involving technology to “get it right” took me some getting used to but as we are a few weeks into the season I can see some tangible benefits.
First off, the relationship between the umpires and the managers is creeping closer and closer to resembling a ‘bromance’.
Each time there is a close call the manager strolls out to have a casual chat about anything but the close call as his guys in the back room scramble to get the video of the play to make sure they have a case.
You see, managers have two challenges and if they lose one they look bad in the eyes of the players and will then sulk, taking out their anger on those same players. This means teams will make sure they are right before issuing a challenge.
So the manager/umpire dynamic is much more amiable as we have seen plenty of chuckles between the two sides to this point.
There is a definite health benefit for the portly managers in the league as they are doing far more walking out to the diamond to ‘debate’ the close call in question.
There is also the benefit of not having a manager go ballistic on an ump and thus raising his blood pressure to a dangerous level.
You can add in reduced injuries to an umpire who could easily tear his rotator cuff when giving the manager the heave-ho for arguing the call. A healthy ump is a happy ump.
Players pay the price in some way as they are forced to stand around even longer now as things are checked but there is a balance as they run off the field thinking an inning is over with the third out, only to have the final out overturned and they have to jog back into position.
The fans also get some benefit during the many delays in a game as video is checked for actual and possible challenges.
An added bonus is longer games result in more time to try to digest whatever ball park wonder meat you might have devoured at the game.
The game itself hasn’t changed but what we see on the field is now enhanced with fans getting to see their out of shape manager wearing a far too tight uniform more than a handful of times in a game.
And he’s in a much better mood.
Take me out to the ball game! But hold the replay please and thank you.