clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

The replay era begins in MLB

In August 1988 the Phillies and Cubs nearly made history by playing the first night game at Wrigley in major league baseball history. However, after 3 1/2 innings the game was rained out, and the Cubs' game against the Mets the next night became the first official night game at Wrigley.

Twenty years later, the Phils and Cubs have another shot at history: tonight's game at Wrigley is the first game being played with the possibility of instant replay reversing a call. The three weekend series beginning tonight (Phils-Cubs, Twins-A's and Rangers-Angels) are the first to fall under the new replay process. Starting tomorrow, every game is subject to replay review.

Only home run "boundary" calls -- fair or foul, over the fence or not, or if fan interference is involved -- can be reviewed by the umpires. Video from each game will be compiled at what MLB calls its Network Operations Center in New York (not as good a name as the NHL's "War Room" in Toronto), and technicians can zoom in and speed up or down the video to help the umpires.

Baseball is the last of the four major sports leagues to use replay review in some form. Right now they insist that it will never be expanded to review plays other than homers. We'll see if they hold to that after a controversial call in a postseason game.

What seems unfair to me is that they're starting this in midseason (or late season, to be precise). I can understand that they didn't want to use the system for the first time in the playoffs. However, some teams have more games left than others, so the reversal of calls may benefit those teams. Changing rules when so many games have already been played isn't right. -- Joe Guckin