The Herald Bulletin

Afternoon Update

Sports Columns

April 5, 2014

Rick Teverbaugh: Already time to scrap baseball replay

The new replay system being used by Major League Baseball is an abject failure and should be scrapped immediately.

Is that too quick and too harsh an assessment of this high-tech boondoggle that has been in place for only a week? No and no.

Some claim that baseball's pace is already so pedestrian that adding a few minutes per replay is hardly going to hurt. But that comment really is reflecting on the length of the game and not the pace. I will admit that the sport has its down time, but that time is neatly spaced between pitches and hitters.

Baseball has a rhythm that makes it enjoyable, and that syncopation is even more evident watching the games in person.

All of that is destroyed in the two or three minutes it takes to resolve a replay dispute.

The system itself isn't really all that bad, but it is the human element — yes that same human element they were trying to avoid — that has prevented this replay mechanism from being tolerable.

The manager comes out under the guise of having a discussion with the umpire about the call. It is a ruse. They are coming out to stall for time while someone in the dugout or clubhouse views the replay and sends him a signal on whether or not to use a challenge.

The delay is excruciating.

In the past, when the managers have come out, it was to argue the decision, mostly without any hope that it would be overturned. It was called protecting or supporting their players who were reacting to a call. Some managers made it quite entertaining — Earl Weaver and Lou Piniella come to mind.

That has been completely and unceremoniously removed from the game. It has been removed with all the care and planning of getting your tonsils removed on a street corner by a panhandler.

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