September 3, 2012

MLB Has Been Testing "Advanced Replay Systems"

Despite repeated statements by Commissioner Bud Selig that major league baseball would not be considering or implementing in the near future any more forms of instant replay in determining calls, MLB recently tested two new systems in New York.

From last month:
MLB will analyze a radar-based system and a camera-based system, both similar to the one used in tennis for down-the-line fair-or-foul calls. Yankee Stadium and Citi Field will be the guinea-pig parks for the systems, which have been installed recently.

The use of the systems will be strictly in the background and for analysis. ... [I]f they prove accurate they could precede an overhaul of the system for the 2013 season, sources told Yahoo! Sports.
In the past, Selig has been adamant about not using replay for anything other than home run calls (MLB instituted that process in August 2008). He has repeatedly claimed that a majority of fans do not want any more replay. However, every online poll that I have seen - literally, all of them - shows the exact opposite. Fans want correct calls to be made, no matter how that result may be achieved.

Some Selig quotes from this season:

May 23, 2012:
I have had very, very little pressure from people who want to do more.
July 2, 2012:
People in our sport don't want any more. ... Baseball is a game of pace. You have to be very sensitive and careful not to disturb that pace.
July 10, 2012:
[The] appetite for more replay in the sport is very low.
Yet Selig has also claimed that baseball will expand replay "when we have the technology", which is laughable considering MLB uses the necessary technology right now, and has for years. The pitch f/x system used for MLB's Gameday is more accurate in determining balls and strikes than the naked eye.

Joe Torre, Executive Vice President of Baseball Operations for MLB:
The game is imperfect. ... I don't know why we want everything to be perfect. It's an imperfect game. Life isn't perfect and this is a game of life.
For Torre, and for MLB, the fact that we've had blown calls in the past means we are duty-bound to have blown calls in the future. They are simply a way of life. So why keep accurate statistics? Let's count runs only sporadically. Perhaps record one team's win total as 78 rather than 87. Everyone makes mistakes; shouldn't baseball - "a game of life" - reflect the imperfections of our lives?

Every single argument for the status quo and against increased replay dissolves once you begin actually examining it. There is no solid case to be made for keeping things the way they are.

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