Niagara Gazette

Columns

April 28, 2014

CITY DESK: Crying foul over MLB replay

Niagara Gazette — Expanded instant replay in Major League Baseball may be the worst idea ever. 

Yes, worse than clear Pepsi or smokeless cigarettes or Jon Bon Jovi owning the Buffalo Bills. 

But I digress.

For those who aren’t in the know, the powers-that-be in the majors decided it was time to follow the NFL model on instant replay and allow team managers at least one challenge per game.

It’s not allowed for called balls or strikes so at least there’s that. 

It is in play, however, for questionable home runs, close tags at home and other key moments on the field. 

As if baseball wasn’t mind-numbingly slow enough for today’s audience now the game literally stops so umpires can retreat to replay areas where they confer with unseen home office officials to determine whether they made the right call. 

Replay in all sports takes away from the momentum and genuine emotion of the game. 

Imagine attending a big league game and your favorite team’s player appears to slide in under a tag at home, scoring a go-ahead run. The crowd goes wild. The fan gets the moment he or she paid to see. 

But then they check the tape, the call is reversed and a run that would have stood as a run just last year now comes off the board. 

Not only is it a disappointing feeling in the ballpark, but now the umps look like chumps. 

In baseball, perhaps more so than any other sport, undermining the authority of umpires should be considered an affront to the game itself. 

In the world of sports authority figures, umpires have always been considered the top of the heap. 

When you are a kid, from little league on up, you learn to respect the ump and his calls. Those guys with the huge chest pads and wired masks have always had the final say — right or wrong. 

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