We learned yesterday that Major League Baseball is considering adding expanded replay for the playoffs this year. Eric Fisher of Sports Business Journal reports a critical detail. A very, very stupid critical detail:
Proposed expansion of MLB instant replay to include a manager’s challenge
— Eric Fisher (@EricFisherSBJ) August 15, 2013
Why must there be a challenge system? The entire point of replay is to get calls right, not to only get calls right when a manager decides to employ a certain strategy. Put in a challenge system and the manager has to decide: “hmmm, should I say something about that obvious mistake the umpires just made, or should I let if pass in case there’s another mistake later?” It’s a total passing of the buck.
It also adds more of what MLB is trying to get rid of with replay: managers on the field, interrupting the flow of the game, arguing things. Only now instead of calls they’ll be arguing about challenges. And if a manager uses up his challenge because of earlier screwups, he’ll just come out and argue about later screwups the old fashioned way. This also creates a greater potential for even more adversarial umpire-manager-player interactions, as it not only increases the amount of managers and players second guessing umps, it DEMANDS that they do, which will certainly impact umpire habits and demeanor.
Take some friggin’ ownership over your officials, Major League Baseball. Make getting calls right their responsibility, not the manager’s responsibility. This is absolutely stupid.
UPDATE: Baseball has made a statement about this system. The statement may be stupider than the proposal itself. I take a whack at it here.