Baseball general managers recommending instant replay
ORLANDO, Fla. — Baseball could have a new position next year: replay judge.
General managers recommended for the first time Tuesday that instant replay be used to help umpires make difficult decisions.
The proposal, approved by a 25-5 vote, was limited to boundary calls — whether potential home runs are fair or foul, whether balls go over fences or hit the tops and bounce back, and whether fans interfere with possible homers.
“We’ve taken the first step. The question will be now, what do we do?” said Jimmie Lee Solomon, executive vice president for baseball operations in the commissioner’s office. “We have glacier-like movement in baseball, so I’m hopeful that we can at least start meaningful discussions about it. I think that this will be something we’ll have to go very deliberately on.”
Solomon said the next step will be to speak with commissioner Bud Selig, who opposes the use of replays but said last month he was willing to let GMs examine the issue. If Selig gives the go-ahead, Solomon and staff in the commissioner’s office would draft a detailed replay proposal that GMs could vote on when they gather next month at the winter meetings in Nashville, Tenn.
Replay eventually would have to be approved by the unions for players and umpires, and possibly in a vote by owners.
“It’s very important that we do get Bud’s agreement on this,” Solomon said. “He seemed to be softer, at least, on the consideration of the subject lately. I would not consider him an advocate of instant replay. He will have to be convinced.”
Television replays can be used for many calls in the NFL. In the NBA, they are often used to determine whether players get shots off before time expires. In the NHL, replays are applied to check whether pucks cross goal lines. In grand slam tennis, replays can be used to ascertain whether balls are in or out.
Solomon likened this to the NHL model. He said the GMs’ technology committee felt that the best method would be to have all video fed to a central location to be judged.
Solomon said if replay couldn’t be put it place for the start of next season, it was possible it could make its debut in the postseason.