The umpires assigned to the Yankees vs. Rays series became the first to use instant replay last night; confirming the call they made on the field concerning an Alex Rodriguez homerun. The umpire crew chief had this to say about the decision to use instant replay:
“If there had been no argument, obviously we wouldn’t have because all four of us believed the call was correct on the field,” Reliford said. “Because he disputed it, and it was very close, and now the technology is in place, we used it.”
At this point, I don’t have a significant opinion on the implementation of instant replay in major league baseball. But I am concerned about the decision making process for when to use it. The quote above ought to give Major League Baseball pause. If it’s just a matter of whether or not the manager is going to argue or not, we’ve got a problem. Let’s face it, there are some surly managers out there (see Ozzie Guillen), and when they’re in a bad mood, they might force you (or try and force you) to go to the replay booth whenever possible. Of course, if you don’t grant them what they want, you’ll probably have to toss them out of the game, which just goes to show, the more things change, the more they stay the same.
I just think a bit more thought needs to be put into this.