Ending with Replay: Changes Needed for Reviews
By Nick Vezmar
Jun 14, 2014; San Francisco, CA, USA; First base umpire Mike Muchlinski (76) listens to the play review before confirming the double play out by the Colorado Rockies against the San Francisco Giants to end the game at AT&T Park. The Colorado Rockies defeated the San Francisco Giants 5-4. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports
Do I believe MLB needs to get rid of replay reviews? Not really. Am I writing this simply because this is the second time the Giants have lost a game via replay? Maybe. Do I think things need to be changed with replay? Absolutely.
The San Francisco Giants drop the first game of their series against the Brewers. What is more peculiar about this loss, is that it ended on a replay review, as Joe Panik was called safe initially on a ground ball. After a lengthy challenge and review, the call was overturned. Whether or not you believe the right call was made, the game ended after that review, and there seemed to be a good portion of fans that were left stunned with the result.
There is a lot of grief felt league-wide about this replay review, and after we as fans have witnessed it for more than a hundred games, we have seen how replay can really change a game. For the Giants, it has ended two games, one nearly two months ago in a road series against the Pirates. Throughout the season though, there have been some questionable calls that have become even more questionable after a review was made.
A lot of anger and frustration was vented tonight over the review, and the fact that it took far too long to get the call overturned left some skeptical. There are ways that this skepticism can be prevented, aside from just getting rid of review altogether. I would like to hear what others think on the issue, so please feel free to comment below with what you feel should be changed, if anything should be changed at all. But here is my take on what should be done…
1. Who is looking at the screens?
Make it more transparent. We see the list of umpires working a game before the game has started, so why can’t we find out the morning of who is sitting in the replay booth? Or at the very least, how come we can’t find the information easily?
Who exactly is in New York looking at the screens? What is their previous experience? Have they made any mistakes before? These are all questions that we should be able to easily answer.
2. Localize the Booth
Maybe instead of relying on New York, every game should have their own umpire sitting in a TV booth. Give them their own screen with their own controls, and a line directly to the umpires. They should also have the ability to do booth challenges, but that’s a whole other monster. This might better address the time issues caused by challenges.
3. Why does the call stand? Why was it overturned?
Again, this is more for transparency. We the audience should be able to find out why a call stands or was overturned. Like the NFL, the umpires should be able to get on the house PA and tell everyone why the call was made the way it was made. That way we’re not sitting there trying to go through all the scenarios of why that particular call was made.
4. How long do umpires really need?
Do the umpires really need a few minutes to discuss the call? Or do you believe the call can be determined within the first minute? It may be a few minutes to us, but those few minutes are precious to the pitcher waiting on the mound as his arm gets colder and colder.
Also, if the manager leaves the dugout to discuss the possibility of a challenge, should he be forced to make the challenge? Think of how much time that wastes, as the manager exchanges pleasantries with the umpires, only to probably end up getting called back.