Back on June 2, 2010, the Detroit Tigers and Cleveland Indians were right in the middle of a three-game series. It was definitely unordinary. Twenty-eight year old Armando Galarraga had gone 26 hitters without allowing a baserunner. One out away from the perfect game, Indians shortstop Jason Donald hit a ground ball to first baseman Miguel Cabrera. Galarraga received the throw, apparently beating Donald, and securing the perfect game. However, first base umpire Jim Joyce saw differently, and called Donald safe. The rest is history.
In November, Major League owners approved the funding to expand replay and to approve new rules when they meet on January 16 in Arizona. What still needs to be worked out is what happens when a baserunner is deemed out on a trapped ball, or a foul ball that was a fair ball. How many bases does the runner advance? That still has to be fixed.
Baseball's biggest concern is adding time to a game that is already viewed by many as too slow. They hope for the replays to take around 1 minute and 15 seconds. The big question is: How bad does baseball want to get the call right? I would think that even without replay, people will view the sport as slow, which is a lose-lose situation. Baseball won't get the call right, and people won't change their minds about the sport. They should focus on getting the calls right, and it seems like they will be.
How replay will work (details to be finalized January 16 in Arizona):
- Each manager will have two challenges per game
- Successful challenges can be reused
- If a manager wants to challenge a call, he must inform the umpire before the next pitch
- A manager cannot challenge a call after he argues that play
- All reviews will be conducted at MLB headquarters in New York.
- Umpires will communicate with MLB headquarters via headset
- If a manager runs out of challenges, umpires will probably be allowed to call for a review
- Ball-and-strike calls, checked swings, and some foul tip calls are not reviewable
The replay was tested in the Arizona Fall League this past fall, and I thought that it worked well and was able to clear up some "missed calls" and confirm "close calls." (If you want to view the replay in action, click here.) However, remember that was the AFL and not the MLB. There is so much more at stake in the Majors, but it should be able to make the game better.
Home Plate Collisions:
Pete Rose doesn't think so.
"First of all, if they can eliminate concussions, I’m all for that," Rose told Hal McCoy of the Dayton Daily News. "But I’ve thought and thought about it. The only concussions I can remember recently in baseball is Justin Morneau, and he got that sliding into second base. I know this is mostly about Buster Posey, but he got hurt when he got his ankle caught and twisted it."
"I’m a traditionalist," he said. "I thought the game has always been pretty good. About the only major changes they’ve made to the game since 1869 was when they lowered the mound afrter the 1968 season and the designated hitter. I mean, the game is going pretty good, isn’t it?"
"What’s next? Are they going to eliminate the takeout slide on double plays at second base?" Rose asked.
Rose played gritty baseball during his tenure in the big leagues. He liked to get dirty and play hard. Eliminating home plate collisions definitely fits Rose's baseball ego. Personally, I believe baseball is doing the right thing. Players will continue to get bigger, stronger, and faster, thus increasing the chance of a very serious injury at home plate. Players now will have to slide at home, which does happen already without the rule.
The question about banning home plate collisions comes with an issue. What happens to a player that collides with a catcher at home plate? Do they get ejected? Suspended? That still needs to be clarified fully to me.
These two rules are game changing. I believe that they are for the better. Nonetheless, they will be here, starting Opening Day 2014.