This article was originally written for Facebook Notes on March 9, 2014 – before instant replay was expanded across Major League Baseball that season. While all of the Top 10 noted below did not happen at once, they happened over time. The final straw will be the 2019 season, when robots will be employed to call balls and strikes in the Atlantic League.
Baseball is a beauty contest. You need to look good playing it. Catchers can steal more strikes, batters can steal more balls, and base runner can steal more runs – if they look good. It’s an art.
Better appearances come from fielders who are more highly skilled at their craft. A fielder with artistic ability will get more out calls than a one without the talent. Instant replay renders the art of baseball irrelevant. Instant replay will change the game of baseball as you know it, and not for the better. Not every type of play is up for review, but once the levy breaks, you won’t be able to rewind history.
Top 10 Plays That Will Be Eliminated from Baseball with Instant Replay
10 – Catchers framing pitches.
9 – The appeal play at 3rd base after the runner tags on an outfield fly out.
8 – The neighborhood play.
7 – Fielders showcasing a caught (or trapped) ball after a diving catch.
6 – Batters diving out of the way and taking a HBP, for a ball that never actually touched him, but where he played the performance perfectly.
5 – Missed bases. We’ve all missed a base from time to time, and play it off. No more.
4 – Check swings. Oh boy, let’s not even go there!
3 – Celebrations by players and fans after a bang-bang play – you’ll get those in two minutes, after the appeal is made and the tape is reviewed.
2 – Fan interference. Baseball is the only sport where fans interact with the game. There will never be another Steve Bartman or Jeffrey Maier.
1 – Umpires. What’s their purpose, if their authority means absolutely zilch.
Of course, plays where instant replay probably should be part of the game are those where outcomes are not impacted by the skill of a player. This would include plays such as fair vs. foul balls, and home runs vs.wall balls.
How do you think instant replay has worked out? You make the call.