Major League Baseball (MLB) has been losing fans for several years. The average attendance for a MLB game has been decreasing for a number of years. If Major League Baseball would like to compete with popularity of professional sports such as Professional football (NFL) and Professional basketball (NBA), they need to embrace some of technologies that have made those sports so successful in recent years. Right now, MLB has a replay system used for determining home runs that are either fair or foul, whether the ball actually left the playing field or whether the ball was interfered with by a spectator. MLB should have an instant replay system that can be used for all judgment calls excluding ball and strike calls. MLB could adopt a similar policy that the NFL has where the head coach is given a certain number of challenges he can use to begin the instant replay process i.e. limiting coaches to two to three challenges per game. MLB could also look into adding an extra umpire to help with the replay system and alleviate time used for the challenges.
The challenge for implementing an instant replay system in MLB can potentially impact the speed of the game. That has been one of the major arguments against replay in MLB by the baseball purists. The purists seem to like the human and the mistakes that come along with humans making judgment calls that impact the game. The purists don’t seem to want to embrace emerging replay technologies in an effort the get the call correct because replay would interfere with the human element the purists embrace. “The lack of instant replay in baseball is one of those crises, and simply curling up in a ball and pretending that an issue in 2011 doesn't exist because it didn't exist in 1911 is preposterous.” (Monta 2011) However, with the high salaries MLB owners are paying their players today, getting a call correct or corrected becomes so important. MLB owners are paying too much for players, stadiums, amenities, etc. to put fans in seats and I cannot imagine they appreciate going to that level of effort so that the outcome of a game may get decided on a blown call by an umpire.
If speed of the game is the major sticking point against implementing a fully executable instant replay system, then why can’t other steps be taken to make sure the game doesn’t last too long? Why can’t MLB games last 8 innings, or extra inning rules be tweaked so that games don’t last too long. The NFL has taken steps to improve their product and some of those steps including shortening games and the NFL remain extremely successful.
Admittedly, implementing instant replay for all levels of baseball would be economically challenging. However, at the very least, instant replay should be implemented on the professional level where the athletes are being paid and millions of fans are paying to watch a good game.
A very recent and well known incident that occurred during the 2010 MLB season cost Armando Galarraga, a pitcher for the...