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Major League Baseball Tables Expanded Replay Until 2013


While Major League Baseball has decided to introduce a new and expanded playoff structure in 2012, at least one other controversial topic has been tabled until next season.  MLB has announced that it’s decided to not include expanded replay during the 2012 season, but it hopes to put the extra review into action in 2013.

Replay was initially introduced to the game of baseball in 2008, when it was made possible for umpires to review potential home runs.  Now, MLB is pushing for replay to cover other hazy areas such as trapped balls, fair-or-foul rulings down the line and fan interference all over the field.

In order for this advancement of the replay system to take place, approval is required from MLB and the unions representing the umpires and the players.  An “acceptable set of agreements between the three parties” was unable to be reached in time for expanded replay to be introduced for the 2012 season.

According to the Associated Press, there were several “sticking points” that held up negotiations.  Umpires were concerned that the television feeds they would receive to review calls would not be equal at every ballpark.  It was also not clear who would ask for a challenge to be made which would prompt the use of the expanded replay.

As is usually the case, in return for this additional responsibility the umpires were asking for something in return.  The AP speculated that umps may have requested additional retirement or disability benefits or even that an additional member be added to postseason crews.

On the player’s side of things, their union is waiting for an agreement to be reached between MLB and the umpires before chiming in with their thoughts.  The AP reported that trying to get all three sides to agree has “proved a difficult balancing act”.

It makes sense that, if you have the technology available, you should be making the correct calls.  Umpires will make mistakes and there should be a system of checks and balances.

However, people already say baseball games take far too long to complete.  While expanded replay could correct blunders on the part of umpires, it could also result in the lengthening of an already time consuming and generally slow moving game.

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