Where to begin? Where to begin? In today’s Toronto Sun, columnist Steve Simmons goes off on Major League Baseball and its supposedly ridiculous policy of not showing replays of close calls in the stadium immediately after they occur.

This is just another example of staid old baseball being behind the times. Instead of giving the fans what they want and what is readily available, they instead deny the paying customer information.

Yep. This is coming from someone who works in the newspaper industry.

Despite Simmons’ straw man suggestions, “staid old baseball” isn’t behind the times. In fact, earlier this year, it was the digital arm of the league that rejected a billion dollars in offers from private equity firms.

Launched in 2000, MLB.com was funded by the clubs in an agreement that had them each investing $1 million a year over four years. The cost was targeted at $120 million. To the joy of the owners and MLB, the site started generating excess revenue in only the second year of its existence, allowing them to invest only $70-$75 million before beginning to see a return on their investment.

Major League Baseball’s Adavanced Media, which controls properties like MLB.com and MLB.tv, is earning owners more than $500 million in revenue on an annual basis. It was way ahead of other leagues in exercising control over its highlights online and embedding journalists with the clubs to create its own mini media conglomerate.

Baseball isn’t in any trouble with the younger generation. It’s speaking their language and making money even as other leagues were suffering from the economic downturn, something that Simmons and his own industry might relate to.

If the Toronto Sun writer attended a baseball game at Rogers Centre, and the most offensive part of the in game presentation wasn’t the soul crushing atmosphere created by the Addams Family theme song, forced clapping and songs that haven’t even been popular ironically in twenty years, I’d assume that he had the idea to write this article long before he actually sat in section 127 on Tuesday night.

For all of his proselytizing, Simmons does come close to grazing an actual good point. He mentions John Farrell coming out of the dugout to argue one of the close calls, and compares it to what MLB is trying to stop by not showing controversial replays in its stadiums.

For the record, managers are allowed to show up umpires and incite the crowd.

Paragraphs later, Simmons brings up the inevitable hockey comparison.

Even in the overly sensitive National Hockey League, there is some leeway for the paying customer. Footage from disputed goals that are reviewed by off-ice officials may be replayed in the arena, with the stipulation being it can only be shown once — prior to the call being official and once after the call is official.

Therein lies the stuff of an actual interesting article: why baseball continues to refuse to allow the implementation of more video replay for disputed calls. The argument against video replay has always been that it ruins the flow of the game or would take up too much time. But what MLB has consistently refused to acknowledge is that managers disrupt the flow and add minutes onto the game by being allowed to argue umpire decisions seemingly at will.

And The Rest

Dem bones, dem bones, dem broke bones: Stephen Drew broke his ankle last night and Carlos Gomez suffered a broken collar bone. Guess which one is going to be missed more.

After acquiring Wilson Betemit in a trade with the Kansas City Royals, the Detroit Tigers designated long time third baseman Brandon Inge for assignment.

The Royals might not be done there, as talks continue with the Philadelphia Phillies over Melky Cabrera.

Clayton Kershaw and Tim Lincecum defined pitching duel yesterday afternoon.

Perhaps the much maligned owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers, Frank McCourt, could better spend his time preparing for boring hearings instead of firing hitting coaches.

Eric Bedard’s injury is hurting his trade value. No, seriously.

Make no mistake, baseball is the greatest symphony known to man.

Is Chicago Cubs shortstop Starlin Castro auditioning for the next James Bond movie? I’d be looking for another career to after getting blamed for a 9-1 loss by my manager.

Mental Floss looks at how Donruss’ original Rated Rookies turned out.

Hideki Matsui hits his 500th home run. Sort of.

What a little cry baby. What are you, like four years old? Grow up.

How long did Doug Glanville play baseball for?

Ozzie Guillen has something to say:

Comments (12)

  1. The last two videos are already down.

  2. Glanville and Ozzie vids are working for me.

  3. They seem to be fine

  4. Working fine for me too.

  5. As much as it’s fun (easy?) to criticize Simmons, his first argument (that MLB should allow showing of replays in the stadium) is correct. ‘Protecting the Umpires’ be damned.

  6. @Greg E agreed.

    Baseball might be ahead of the times when it comes to mlb.tv/mlb.com, however the replay issue is laughable. Only soccer/futbol has a more arcane policy of relying on the judgments of refs/line judges that continually miss big calls.

    I see no reason why mlb should not adopt an NFl style challenge system. It’s fuckin ridiculous that in the 21st century major calls (plays at first/home, fair or foul balls etc) are left up to the human eye when it’s nearly impossible to be accurate with something that is moving so quickly.

    And until that happens, the GAME of baseball (and not how it’s showcased online) will remain ‘staid’

  7. While I don’t necessarily agree with them not showing replays at the stadium, I understand the reasoning. It could incite the fans, which in turn could get stuff thrown on the field, etc.

    Just think back to that July 2nd game where people were throwing stuff on the field, and there weren’t any replays shown at the time. Imagine if they showed the pitches that were called balls to Ryan Howard, then thing’s would have gotten REALLY ugly.

  8. As it relates to replay, I agree with Jeff Blair – no challenges, let the crew chief decide. I want baseball as different from the NFL as possible

  9. You can’t let it be the crew chief. If Cowboy Joe West, Phil Cuzzi and a host of others are responsible for calling for the replay, it would end up being a worse joke than it is now. If not manager challenges, I’d prefer to have a 5th official off the field in a room with a hi-def monitor and have him in contact with the on-field crew to let them know he’s reviewed a play and a call needs to be changed. Safe/out, fair/foul and homerun calls should be overturnable at any point during the game. Anyone who would save it for the late innings is crazy. 1 run in a 1 run game is just as important in the top of the 1st as it is in the bottom of the 9th. I’m torn on balls and strikes. After seeing how bad things were on July 2nd, I’m leaning towards reviewing them as well.

    If we’re worried about extra time this would take, limit trips to the mound to pitching changes only and call a ball if a pitcher takes too long between pitches (sorry Sausage King) or call a strike if a batter takes too long to step into the box after a pitch (sorry all Red Sox and Yankee hitters).

    We have the means to get it right and to make the outcome more reliant on the skill of the players and the occasional bout of luck. We should see that. The game will be better for it.

  10. Yes — the newspaper industry — whose links and content you farm every day.

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