So we've got instant replay in baseball now. Camp Tiger Claw and I argued about the prospect of such a rule change back in May, and we agreed that we both were wrong and each others' opinion was ridiculously wrong. Turns out the umpires' union and the MLB corporation were far more agreeable, as they finally buried the hatchet and signed an agreement to allow instant replay starting this season:
"I told our members that it's just another tool that we can use to get the play right, not to look at it as a negative, but a positive," World Umpires Association president John Hirschbeck said. "As hard as you try, as much as you hustle, sometimes with just the landscape of the ballparks nowadays, it's hard to tell. So if we can get it right, you know what, let's use it as a tool to get it right."
Hirschbeck seems like a gentleman and a good communicator, but he obviously knows that umpires are a cloistered sort and quite protective of their craft. Naturally, they should be. No other institution in sports takes more abuse than the baseball umpire, despite their pretty decent record of making the right call. Yes, you've got your Don Denkingers and your Rich Garcias who made questionable calls in tight playoff situations, but for the most part, umpires know their shit.
So now, Bud Selig and his band of merry CEOs are figuring out how to implement new technologies to get home run calls right:
Umpire crew chiefs will determine when replay will be used and will make the final decisions on calls. Up to three umpires will be able to look at the replays, which will be provided from a "war room" at Major League Baseball Advanced Media in New York. It's possible as many as five umps could review the replays during postseason.
Will umpires on the field have iPhones in their back pockets? Will the umpires in the war room push the video out to the umpires on the field via AT&T's 3G network? What if videos like this accidentally show up on Hunter Wendelstedt's iPhone?
Perhaps the real question is: how many different ways can Bud Selig screw this up?