A New Age: Instant Replay

By Mac Hess (’14)

There is a certain purity to baseball. Something that cannot be explained. In this world of technology we live in, baseball seems to be one of the remaining pure and simple luxuries. This is the reason I am going to look into the use of instant replay in the MLB. I personally do not want there to be instant replay for a variety of reasons that I will outline later. But the most important question we must ask ourselves in the decision for instant replay is whether or not it will destroy the innocent nature of the game.

According to ESPN, the Major League Baseball officials spent two hours last week outlining the new details for the new instant replay system. The main additions to the replay system are, 1) managers get one challenge per game, if they win their challenge, they are awarded one more, 2) from the 7th inning on, umpires are given authority to review a play on their own, 3) all plays are reviewed by replay umpires that are stationed in New York, 4) virtually all plays are reviewable except balls and strikes. There are a few other replay rules, but these are the foundation for the new rules in instant replay.

Many of the managers seemed optimistic about the new system. Managers like Mike Scioscia and Bruce Bochy voiced their opinion after the conferences saying that they believed it was time for baseball to have an instant replay system. Their main argument was that we live in a technological world now and technology should be used in baseball. This argument seemed a little lack-luster to me because I do not believe something good should change, simply because everything around it changes. When falling into the inescapable phenomena of over-thinking swing mechanics at a young age, my grandpa used to tell me “Keep it simple… if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”. This quote was one of the first things that came to mind when I heard about the new system. Why would we want to change something that is not broken?

In my opinion, these rules take away from the game of baseball. There is something about the human error involved in umpire play that makes baseball what it is. Some of my favorite memories from when I was a kid involved a manager of a team running out to protest the call, whether it was right or wrong. It almost seems like part of the sport’s history to have a clash between umpires and managers that adds a whole new level of excitement to the game. I fear this will not happen once the new replay system is in place. With the new replay system in action, managers will be informed whether what they saw was correct or not, so there will be no point in going and speaking with the umpire. It also takes away a lot of the fan involvement in the game. Being upset with the umpire at a ball game allows fans to voice their opinion and scream from their seats, even though we all know no one on the field hears what they are saying. This new system looks more like the NFL than the MLB. What’s next? Are managers going to be throwing red challenge flags onto the diamond?

One of the reasons I love baseball is because of how it has remained virtually unchanged since the day it was invented. Obviously, there have been slight changes here and there, but for the most part it is the same game it has always been. This new reform will change baseball drastically. This “enhancement” of baseball takes away a huge portion of the game, and I for one do not agree with it.

— MAC HESS (’14)