Instant replay in baseball: For better or worse?

On May 8 in the top of the ninth inning at Progressive Field, the Oakland Athletics were losing by one run to the Cleveland Indians. With only one out left, Adam Rosales comes to the plate; he hits what looks like a home run, in which would tie the game at four. Instead of tying up the game, Rosales was given a double and the A’s went on to lose that game to the Indians.  

Major League Baseball acknowledged soon after reviewing the instant replay footage that the ball did in fact go over the wall and that it was a homerun. Despite the improper call that was made by the umpires, the original decision still stood. 

In 2008, Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig implemented the original instant replay policy. That of which only included the review of fair and foul balls (homeruns), whether the ball left the field and fan interference.  Starting in the 2014 season, a new policy will take effect. 

Instant replay will then be used to review every play in an MLB game except when judging the strike zone. This new policy will also allow managers to challenge an umpire’s call up to three times per game, once before the sixth inning and twice then on after. 

 MLB is the last of the four major U.S. sports to implement the instant replay system. 

The controversy surrounding this new policy is whether it will be beneficial to the sport or create more issues. 

According to Huffington Post writer, Seth Swirsky, this new policy will not only  “damage our national pastime,” but also take the fun out of the game. He recounts the excitement that the fans feel when a manager argues with an umpire over a missed call. 

Will those feelings of anticipation and excitement disappear with these new instant replay rules and the usage of technology? He then continues to describe the morals that the game of baseball instills in its fans by not using instant replay. 

“What baseball teaches us is that, like in a real life, if something doesn’t go our way, even if it’s unfair, we have to make the best of it and move on. The game, like life, doesn’t stop to determine fairness at every turn,” said Swirsky.

On the other side of the instant replay spectrum, it is said that this new policy will not only improve the game but also heighten the accuracy of every play. According to MLB.com, the use of instant replay will reduce the number of incorrect calls, impact the outcome of games and therefore the outcome of the division races and the post season. 

 “I couldn’t help but sense in the room the acceptance and excitement. People understood they were sitting in on something that was historic,” said Selig.

Though these changes to the current instant replay system will not take affect until 2014, it has taken the Major League Baseball world by storm. 

The final vote to use this new system will take place in November and will be formally decided by both the MLB Players Association and the World Umpires Association. 

With the current regular season almost over, 2014 will bring not only new players and standings, but will also change the way the game of baseball is played.