We've had this discussion before, many a times, about how baseball needs a better replay system. All the other cool sports are doing it, and does baseball really want to be the odd sport out? The last sport picked to play kickball because it didn't decide to go along with the way things are. I mean, we need only go back to that long Braves vs. Pirates game last year in which the final call of the game, the one that decided the game, was a bad call. I mean, a really bad call. Mind you, that is more of an example that umpires need to be disciplined and fined for debacles like that but the point is that MLB is severely lacking in the instant replay department. They do it for home runs now, but honestly even that takes forever. What I am going to do here is give everyone examples of sports that actually do instant replay correctly and see if baseball can adopt any of this.
Lets go to the video tape after the jump...Tennis
Tennis has a very simple electronic replay system. If the player thinks that a ball was incorrectly called in or out, then he or she can contest the ruling and utilizing the electronic Hawk-Eye system, a system which tracks the ball and where it lands on the court, will be proven right or wrong. If the player is proven right, they do not lose a challenge. However if they are proven wrong then they lose one of the three challenges they have. This replay system has really not ruined the sport in any way, and in fact I think it has enhanced it. Sometimes line judges can get it wrong, and this system helps keep everything in check. Baseball would not really need the Hawk-Eye system as the quality of the replays they get the majority of the time are pretty accurate. Needless to say, there is no reason baseball could not adopt some of the principles found in tennis, besides Zero means Love I mean.
Probably the most famous of replay systems, seeing as how using the challenge flag has become strategic in the sport, due to how the system operates. In football, a coach has a total of two challenges and if they win both challenges then they are awarded a third one. If they lose the challenge the coach loses a timeout, which if you watch football you know can be crucial later on in the game. Football has been using this system for some time now and while it does slow the game down a bit, it still provides accuracy. It aides the human element, which can be wrong from time to time. Similar to baseball, in football every questionable scoring call is reviewed except for baseball it's only home runs.
Did you know that even lacrosse has a better replay system than baseball? Well it does. The lacrosse system functions similar to football's replay system. Each coach has two challenges and they can only use one per half. Unlike football, coaches are not awarded a third challenge if they win the first two. Again, I cannot stress that lacrosse even has a better system than us.
The point of all this is that there is no reason baseball cannot adopt a replay system similar to these three sports. Now if we adopted the tennis replay system, a coach would then have near unlimited challenges unless they were wrong. I don't think baseball should do this because a semi-unlimited number of challenges could make a game really long, even though for the most part a game doesn't have that many blown calls. Ironically I think the lacrosse system might be the best. A coach gets two challenges, no more no less. To save an immense amount of time, I would have a fifth umpire up in a booth somewhere whose sole purpose would be to check for replays, you know the easy job.
The key thing would be to determine exactly what could be challenged. For that though, I'm going to open it up for discussion. What do you think should be allowed to be challenged. Furthermore, what kind of challenge system would you like to see baseball adopt? Discuss away, Pinstripe Alley!