I do not like replay, and I especially do not like it for baseball. My reasoning on this is complicated and hopefully I will explain it greater detail sometime in the future. But for now, my basic problem with replay is this: I do not think it’s worth the delay.
While I do not like replay, I concede it has some value: fixing obvious mistakes, for example, the umpire calling a runner out when the fielder actually dropped the ball.
Notice the word I used. Obvious. I’m referring to obvious mistakes like Derek Jeter’s infamous home run against the Orioles in the 1996 ALCS. Obvious mistakes are very rare, largely because umpires are well trained, experienced, and generally very good at their jobs.
But to the extent fans believe it is necessary to have replay to fix these obvious mistakes, here is a simple suggestion. Umpires are allowed to a review a play, from every camera angle, one time, in full speed.
This might sound crazy at first, but the logic is pretty straight-forward. If replay exists to fix obvious mistakes, and the umpire can’t immediately see a mistake in one replay, it is not an obvious mistake. Keep the game moving.
This will never happen because fans, players, coaches, and umpires all get addicted to replay. We’ve seen this in football, where it seems every catch, turnover, and score are immediately reviewed. There are times when I feel like replay has ruined the football-watching experience. I worry that replay will spread its tentacles into every play in baseball, causing delay after delay after delay.
The only way to stop the madness is to limit the mandate of replay. Fix the obvious mistakes and don’t worry about everything else. If a mistake isn’t obvious on one viewing, it’s not worth the time.