Under review: Expanded MLB replay proves accuracy reigns supreme over game duration

by Max Carter

Major League Baseball took a step into the present last Monday when the new replay system was used for the first time. It is still unclear whether the system will be effective or not, but at the moment, it seems to be the right move.

The MLB introduced an instant replay system in 2008, but only for questionable home run calls. With the new system, managers have one challenge per game, and are awarded an extra challenge if their first is successful. Certainly the change has stirred up much discussion throughout the league.

Baseball has always been a sport rich with the human error factor, with umpire errors accepted as part of the game. Now, wrong calls will be rare, if not nonexistent. Some think that the new replay system undermines the integrity of the game, and they may have a point.

But here’s the problem.

In the world we live in, people want everything fast, whether it be information, food, etc. Yet at the same time, there is also a contradictory desire for thoroughness. The new replay system will undoubtedly result in longer games, but will ensure that a poor call does not change the outcome of a game.

Major League Baseball is not just a sport, as unfortunate as that may be. It is also a massive business, with teams now spending upward of $20 million per year on a single player, in the hope of winning a World Series championship. With so much money invested by owners throughout the league, it is important that each game is officiated as fairly as possible.

This is why the replay system is a good idea.

The NFL has had a challenge and replay system for years, and it has never been a problem. In fact, the NFL review system has become a regular part of televised games, providing excitement and suspense for viewers (and convenient opportunities for commercial breaks).

Yes, this is a big change for a league that until now has done its best to avoid replay. However, it is the 21st century and there is a lot of technology that has become available in recent years.

Some worry that eventually down the road, umpires will become obsolete, replaced by robots or computer-controlled officiating systems. Whether that is true or not remains to be seen, but one thing is for sure — the system is working. After the first week of the MLB regular season, there have already been numerous calls overturned after being challenged.

At this point, the question is not whether or not the system will work. The question is that of an age-old debate — quality or quantity, or perhaps more fittingly, speed or accuracy? Think what you will, but for now, it seems that in the MLB, accuracy reigns supreme.

Contact Max Carter at mcarter16@my.whitworth.edu

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