Last night’s game against Tampa was rained out. I’m guessing that most fans weren’t idly waiting by their computers or TV’s all day just to see if the game was going to be played. All I needed to know was that I got drenched walking to my car to know that baseball wasn’t going to be played! The O’s and Tampa will make up the game on Thursday, June 26th, which will be in advance of what was previously a three-game weekend series at Camden Yards. Speaking for myself, I think this is a better solution than having the teams play a doubleheader today.
With that said, I wanted to touch just a bit on MLB’s Instant Replay system. We really don’t have any evidence as to how it’s working out for the Baltimore Orioles, as the Birds are the league’s only team that has not challenged a call. However opposing managers are 0-3 on challenges against the Orioles, so in that sense I suppose it’s working! However I’m talking big picture here more so than I am about the Orioles or any one team. I’ve always felt that it was worth delaying the game for a few minutes to get calls right. Furthermore, do manager arguments not sometimes take two minutes or so?
The reason I bring this up is because I’ve seen numerous complaints from fans in terms of the amount of time the system takes. Furthermore, I’ve heard complaints regarding things such as the old “neighborhood play” at second base among other things. Here’s my take on instant replay: I think it should be expanded. So far as I’m concerned, the only thing which shouldn’t be able to be reviewed should be balls and strikes. (And even in that case, I’d have no problem with a manager having the ability to challenge whether a hitter checked his swing in time.) So far as I’m concerned, why not review the neighborhood play? Why not allow a review on whether or not a ball bounced over the bag?
One issue that has come up in Oriole games is that there have been calls which have the semblance of being blown, but ultimately there wasn’t conclusive evidence to overturn the call that was made on the field (to use the NFL’s terminology). That’s an inherent flaw in any instant replay system; it’s never going to be 100% foolproof. But so far as I’m concerned, if you have the ammo you might as well use it.
If there’s one criticism that I could make, it would be that in some cases perhaps the conversations are taking a bit too much time. Note that I didn’t say the reviews themselves, but the conversations. As it stands right now, managers are allowed to saunter out of the dugout as if on a Sunday afternoon stroll (so that their video guys have the opportunity to look at the play). They’re then given the option of chatting with the umpire for awhile before he finally says do you want to challenge? Perhaps the umps need to start asking that question a bit earlier, because it seems like they’re allowing the managers to make the decision in their own time. Either that, or perhaps MLB should put a cap on the amount of time allowed for these chats – such as 30 seconds or so. We’re not talking about an exact science here, however if people are concerned about how long this is taking perhaps they could re-evaluate that aspect of it.
The Orioles and Tampa will conclude their now-truncated series with an afternoon matinee at 12:30 today. The O’s shifted Miguel Gonzalez into today’s starting pitcher slot, as did Tampa with starter Jake Odorizzi.