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No Way For Replay In 2011

The early part of MLB’s offseason was dominated with talk of playoff expansion and broadening instant replay. But between free agents signing and trade rumours spreading, proposed rule and policy changes began to take a back seat.  In fact, the topics became so far removed from the cockpit that MLB Commissioner Bud Selig has recently announced that plans have been scrapped for this year

There continues to be fruitful talks about it, but they’re definitely off the table for this year. Really, I think that’s what we’ve been saying all along.

It makes perfect sense to me that wide ranging changes to the way that the playoffs operate couldn’t take place after the regular season schedule was already set, unless of course, teams were willing to be playing baseball in December.

What didn’t make sense to me was the slow down in implementing changes to MLB’s instant replay policies.  That is, until I learned who was on the committee to change such things.

Selig’s 14-member special committee addressing on-field issues will gather on Thursday afternoon. The committee includes four managers: Jim Leyland of the Tigers, Tony LaRussa of the Cardinals, Mike Scioscia of the Angels and the recently retired Joe Torre.

I’ll be honest here.  I have no idea where any of those four gentlemen stand on the use of instant replay, but considering their managerial styles, especially LaRussa and Scioscia’s, is it really a stretch to assume that they’d be against such things as objective truth in favour of subjective human analysis?

Big League Stew puts the ridiculousness of delaying full blown instant replay into perspective:

But to further delay what would be an implementation of wider instant replay after Joyce-Galarraga and a few more controversial calls last postseason? Well, that just doesn’t make much sense, especially when you’re talking about a league that features loads of TV angles for every game and has been progressive in some other areas of technology with MLB.com and its apps on the iPhone and iPad.

Then again, given the arcane blackout rules that we’re still saddled with, maybe MLB’s continued refusal to adapt on the fly isn’t surprising. No one complains about the instant replay delays in the NFL, NBA or NHL — no, not as long as the call is made correctly — but leave it to baseball to figure that it’s an issue they can afford to keep waiting on.

Isn’t it remarkable that an organization that has used digital media and modern technology to increase its market share so effectively would shy away from using other advances to actually ensure that their product is legitimate and genuine? There is absolutely no reason for MLB to drag their feet on this issue.