The concept of instant replay has received a lot of scrutiny when it was first introduced in 2008 and implemented to every ball park in 2009. At first, replay was to be used for home run calls only but has opened up a can of worms. The new instant replay system will also be used for fair or foul calls.
The first cry for instant replay involves both the New York Mets and New York Yankees in 2008 when Mets first basemen Carlos Delgado hit a sharp line drive down the left field line that hit the bottom portion of the foul pole, an area that couldn’t be seen by the naked eye. Multiple views from the television feeds showed that Delgado’s home run did in fact hit the pole, the umpires gathered and overturned the call thus making it a foul ball.
During the 2009 ALDS between the Minnesota Twins and New York Yankees at the New Yankee Stadium, Twins catcher Joe Mauer hit a fly ball down the left field line that obviously in fair territory, however the ball was called foul by left field umpire Phil Cuzzi because Cuzzi was screened by left fielder Melky Cabrera, the ball then bounced up into the stands and should have been a ground rule double.
Earlier this season, during Johan Santana’s no-hitter, Cardinals outfielder and ex-met Carlos Beltran hit a sharp ground ball down the third base line that drew up some chalk but was called foul by the third base umpire Adrian Johnson.
New York has been the center piece of controversial fair foul calls in the instant replay era and will be the grand stage in this new era of replay that will not only include home run calls but fair and foul, the technology is being put into both Citi Field and Yankee Stadium this season. With Commissioner Bud Selig’s office just a stone’s throw away in Manhattan, Selig will be in the loop. The new technology will be tested but not have any factor in the game’s outcome.
Instant replay has been used in other sports, most notably football and has improved the sport for the better in that the officials will get the calls correct. Baseball is different, baseball (without replay) adds the human element into the mix, other ideas have been floated around, ideas that include more umpires on the field, and while that may be beneficial, the cost of employing two more umpires for every game would be very expensive.
Fair/Foul Instant Replay in baseball has been used at the Little League World Series in Williamsport. Instead of a four man crew, the umpire crew consists of five umpires, four in the field and one in the replay booth, each coach had one challenge that they could use, the crew chief would then go to the booth and have the call stand or overturned. the whole process takes about 45 seconds.
Full instant replay was a ticking time bomb in baseball, as umpires get older and technology advances, umpires will continue to be under scrutiny for the blown calls they will make, should this new technology pass, it’s only time before the baseball world, uses instant replay on every aspect of the game.