MLB needs to drop the circus, do instant replay the right way

KSDK - The installation of advanced replay in Major League Baseball was a long time coming.

From Don Denkinger's classic call in the 1985 World Series to Armando Galarraga's blown perfect game, bad calls and missed chances have been a shadow over the game since, well, forever.

First initiated in 2008, the original plan was only to calls involving home runs. Managers were left out of the process, with the umpire crew chief being the only individual allowed to request a replay.

In 2014, they took another step in the right direction.

More calls can be challenged and managers now have the right to initiate such a challenge—on occasion.

As I said, replay has improved, but it's still far from where it needs to be.

The decision to limit manager challenges has created the dog and pony show we're now left watching throughout MLB. Because managers are given only one chance.

And they should be.

I would like to think that no one foresaw the circus dance that replay has become, but that may be expecting a bit too much. There is no reason whatsoever that MLB can't get this right. It would only take a few adjustments to fix the problem

First, scrap the challenges. It won't take long before we have a pivotal game decided by a bad call and the fact that a manager blew a challenge in the third inning.

This is simply unacceptable and in the 21st century—there is no reason for it.

All challenges do is force every manager to do delay the game by an additional minute (or more) while they await the ceremonial "nod" the dugout.

If a call is wrong—fix it. Period.

Second, ditch the 1970s-style headphones. A simple Bluetooth headset style earpiece could serve the trick. While the headphones do purvey the image of deep concentration, they are largely unnecessary (see next point.)

Third, the replay center in New York is a positive step.

However, instead of having someone whom the umpires must call, there should be someone who calls the crew chief.

On any given night, there are as many as 15 games taking place throughout MLB. The replay center needs to be staffed with 15 watchers—one assigned to watch each game every day. Here's the kicker, they are already monitoring "every play of every game."

When there is a questionable play not automatically noticed by the replay guru in New York, an umpire or coach should simply be able to hit a button that calls for a review by the individual in New York. This should be instantaneous to the point that many fans in the stands have virtually no idea it has even occurred.

As it stands now, everyone watching the games at home knows whether a call was blown long before the umpires (or managers.) Would it be so bad if one person had the ability to buzz the umpire and fix the problem?

"Bob, you blew that one. He's safe."

Most often, while the umpire and manager stand near first base and discuss great pizza joints or the art of origami, television viewers already know the answer for which they wait.

For that reason, it should never take three minutes to find out if a call was missed.

If Twitter knows, so should the umpires. It makes more sense from every angle.

Give some guy in New York some Cheetos, Budweiser and a remote control. He'll let you know (with impressive accuracy) in the same amount of time it takes the local television station to cycle through each of its angles.

MLB took a step in the right direction with replay this year, but we've all seen the bugs and it's time for a tweak.

Corey Noles is a Cardinals Writer and Columnist for The Daily Statesman. He is also a regular contributor to Bleacher Report and Contact him at or on Twitter @coreynoles.


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