Taking the human element out of sport is all the rage and Major League Baseball is the latest to knock the dirt off its cleats and head into the 21st Century.
One of the most staunch, traditionalistic (not sure if that’s a word) sports has decided the time is now to welcome instant replay for every questionable play -except balls and strikes.
Now many would argue those are the calls where the most help is needed but it would be a nightmare to have each pitch scrutinized.
The whole idea is set to be in place for the 2014 season but must still get the safe call from the players’ association and that other group involved in this debate, the umpires.
The boys in blue are somewhat in favour but they want the best technology in place to get the help they need and in addition they want to make sure no jobs on the field are being lost.
In fact, the union says the replay booth needs to be manned by an active umpiring crew and not some tech geek from a local high school getting 10 bucks a game to view the replay.
The umps are placed in a very tough position during games having to make calls in a split second but as we have seen over the years, some are not even close and a few bordered on the ‘Stevie Wonder could have made that call ’ area.
Of course, saying that would have got you tossed and there would have been no shortage of replays on sports channels showing just how wrong the umpire was.
Here’s another aspect of this decision to go high tech. The front office guys claim this new system will speed up the game.
The evidence apparently shows arguments over such calls take about three minutes to end whereas the replay could solve the case in 90 seconds.
I can’t argue with a ball game being a little quicker and so let’s get on with it.
There have been many cases where a very bad call ended in a tough result and the most recent was Jim Joyce’s call which ruled a Cleveland runner safe with two out in the ninth, spoiling Detroit Tigers pitcher Armando Galarraga’s perfect game.
Managers will be given three challenges a game with one coming in the first six innings and the other two from the seventh inning to the end of the game.
Managers will not be tossing out red flags or red balls or red anything to challenge a call however.
That’s progress I suppose.