A historical baseball season is now under way. MLB games now use replay challenge systems, which has been needed for quite some time. Umpires can only do so much when it comes to the game. The naked eye simply cannot make accurate enough calls on the closer plays. Therefore, I am glad the replay system is now being used, but it has one major flaw.
Managers are given one replay challenge per game, and another if the first is successful. Meanwhile, the umpiring crew chief is empowered to initiate a review himself after the sixth inning. These rules don’t make sense to me. Why don’t the umpires just review every close play? Even though the games might be longer-(Believe me, I think baseball games are too long as it is), doesn’t it make sense to make every close call correctly via the replay system?
The fact of the matter is, even with the replay system, the challenge system limits it. Games come down to close calls all the time, and if a manager doesn’t have a replay challenge remaining, the game can still favor the team that wasn’t supposed to win. This recently happened on April 1. Giants Manager Bruce Bochy lost a challenge on a close call, therefore had none left for the rest of the game. Two batters later, another close play happened. A.J. Pollock of the Diamondbacks was sliding into home and was clearly tagged out by the Giants catcher, only for the umpire to call safe. Being that the play happened before the sixth inning, there was no review and Arizona was given the run. Arizona went on to win 5-4, but with a big asterisk as the run scored at home shouldn’t have happened.
The challenge system is broke. It’s simply a gimic. Not only in baseball, but in the NFL and tennis as well. Coaches shouldn’t have to throw a weird red flag when they think a call isn’t correct. This is the referee’s job, and if there’s anything at all questionable, it should be automatically reviewed. Of course, the review system will never happen at the high school level (at least in regular season games), which is somewhat unfortunate.