Stark: Improving instant replay in MLB not as easy as it looks

From SABR member Jayson Stark at on May 11, 2016:

The replay machines first started humming on the final day of March 2014, with a 105-second review of a call at first base in Pittsburgh. Can we all agree that baseball hasn’t been the same since?

Once upon a time in this game, if an umpire called you out, you were out. If he called you safe, you were safe. About all you could do if you disagreed was kick dirt, heave the nearest base into the outfield or exhaust your supply of words you can’t say on “Dora the Explorer.”

Not anymore. It’s now three seasons and nearly 3,000 replay reviews later. Here’s how we’d describe life in a world with expanded replay:

More plays get called correctly than at any time in history. The right team wins pretty much every night. Also, we’d love to have 20 bucks for every minute we’ve spent watching umpires wearing their favorite noise-canceling headphones.

The bottom line? “We have done what we hoped to do, and I think most people in baseball are happy we have instant replay in place,” said Atlanta Braves vice chairman John Schuerholz, the original chairman of baseball’s first replay committee.

“Happy” is a relative term. Happy to be getting more calls right? You bet. Happy about 35 percent more calls being reviewed than at this time last year? Not so much. Happy to be spending 4 minutes, 53 seconds waiting for the replay umps to decide that they couldn’t tell whether a guy was safe, as happened last week at Wrigley Field? Really, really not so happy.

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Originally published: May 11, 2016. Last Updated: May 11, 2016.