By Jesse Disbrow
There’s a lot of talk about the new replay possibility in baseball and hits home more recently as the Mets were on the wrong end of a bad call this last week.
The biggest gripe I hear about the system is that it will make an already long game longer. The purists also don’t mind a bit of human error on the parts of umpires, especially since it’s always been that way.
But I’ve got a plan. It takes the best parts of football and hockey’s systems and also works to keep reviews and time short.
Here’s how it’ll work. First of all, we’d adopt hockey’s central review office. This takes pressure off of umpires second guessing themselves. Umps confer, if one doesn’t have a clear view to overturn a play, they go to the central office. As for plays that can be reviewed, home run reviews will stay the same. Additionally, all scoring plays can be reviewed in the same manner. Now to borrow from football, each manager will have one dispute to cash in on a bad call. It can be used on any play that isn’t a scoring play and isn’t a ball or strike call (which includes strike outs and walks). If the manager gets the dispute right, he gets to dispute one more call. Starting in the bottom of the ninth all reviews will be called from the central office or the umpires (like football’s last two minutes.)
In this system you get one chance, so it may not even get used. Plus the system rewards good challenges with an extra, so not every little thing will be disputed. Also managers won’t have to dispute big plays that happen more often, like scoring plays.
Right now I’m leaning towards being able challenge a play before the next result is recorded. That means out, hit or walk, not next pitch. I am willing to listen to compelling arguments in the comments.
Strikes and balls will be left alone. The strike zone is one of those things that is not uniform in baseball. Umps are given guidelines, but can make their own strike zones, just like teams can make their own ballparks with different outfield depths and foul grounds. As long as umps keep a consistent strike zone in a game, they should be fine. If they can’t keep it consistent they should be sent down to the minors.
Did I miss anything? Do you in fact dispute my call? Let me know in the comments.
By Jesse Disbrow