A couple of days ago MLB approved a couple of rule changes for the upcoming 2013 season as explained in this article.Normally when I hear about rules changes, I’m ready to jump right into the article and update my knowledge of the rules in the sport. With this article, I was also struck by a sense of disappointment as MLB once again proved to me that they are out of touch with the fan’s and their expectations of the game.
Frankly, I don’t care about banning the third to first move or adding the seventh coach to the dugout during the game. Along with the on field interpreter rule, if those are the only rules that MLB could come up with this season, they are more out of touch than I ever thought. There are so many other problems that are holding up the progression of the game in America to worry about the assistant hitting coach being in the dugout.
We have been for about five years that MLB continues to look into the use/expanded use of instant replay, but yet we continue to hear week after week during the season about blown close calls that could have been easily and quickly reversed with replay.
The NFL went through the same kind of issues with incorrect calls on close plays back in 1997. The NFL was able to implement an “experimental” system for the preseason in 1998 with full implementation in 1999. It only took 1 year to put in a replay system, yet we are waiting year after year for MLB to get their act together to modernize the game. This modernization of the NFL coincided with major increase in popularity of the game while baseball continue with their slow downward trend. Most every other sport in the world uses some form of reply in their top tier professional league with the exception of soccer, but they are even investing in goal line technology. The young and middle aged people now a days know that these game are judged by the human element and that nobody is perfect, but if the technology exists to quickly correct the play/call, it should be used.
The main argument against instant replay from the anti-replay people is “The game is already running long, this will make the game run longer”. My reply to that is, the game is already being held up by the manager auguring the call, replay would take 2 minutes or less to correct the call which would be far less than the time the manger spends yelling at the umpire.
Another argument against instant reply is that “It will interrupt the flow of the game”. That is another weak comeback as the flow of the game has already been ruined when the player or manager is arguing the call.
Proponents of instant replay are not talking about stopping the game every five minutes to use instant replay. We are talking about 1-2 calls a game at most that need to be reviewed. Just give each manager 1 challenge per game just like in Little League. MLB seems like they would rather save 2 minutes during the game from not using replay and would rather receive negative publicity for 2 days on all the major sports cast shows.
People who are against replay do not truly care about the game and its future. They care about a past vision of the game, they are trying to hold onto something from their past and not look into the future. They want to remember the game for the black and white images that they see from time to time, but those images are in the past and can never be recaptured.
Another rule that needs to be changed is the DH rule between the two leagues. Most people want the DH to be used in both leagues, but personally I don’t care how MLB want to address the issue as long as the rule is consistent between the two leagues especially since there is an odd number of teams now in each league.
It is time for Bud Selig to step down as commissioner. The game has passed him by, he is dragging the progress of the game down while other sport continue their rise in popularity. It should not take to genius to make the needed rule changes in a quick manner to help the game. He always says there are logistical and financial issues with these types of changes, but it has not stopped other sports from quickly put in similar major rule changes. If your focus is on the first to third move or how many people are in the dugout, the game has passed you by and you need to past the reigns to somebody else.
This will not be the last time you will hear me talk about MLB rules, instant replay or Bud Selig, as long as the game continues to fall behind other sports. All I can do is hope that someday baseball will wake up and listen to the fans as they walk away from the game.