Was the ball off of Ryan Howard's glove in Tuesday's Phillies contest against the Cleveland Indians fair or foul? As we saw those inches would have meant three runs for the Indians. Umpire Dan Iassogna did an admirable job of putting himself in the best possible position to see the play, but good-willed people are sometimes wrong and can use a little extra help.
Indians manager Terry Francona came out to argue. Though I think the call was correct, instant replay may have put everyone at ease. Next season Major League Baseball may have some extra help in the form of additional instant replay. "My opinion has evolved", said Major League Baseball Commissioner at an owners meeting yesterday. It appears that the owners agree and that there will be some real change.
The real stumbling block appears to be the tempo of the game. In short, owners do not want them stopping all the time to review every single little call. Calls that do not involve continuous play, such as a trap ball/catch play or an inning ending out or a fair/foul call. But Joe Torre, now working in the commissioner's office, says they could look beyond that:
"There's no question we're considering much more than the trap play and fair/foul. But again, one of the decisions we have to make is how much of this do we want to do without really disrupting and putting people to sleep?"
I would advocate that we give instant replay a shot; we would not be married for it forever should it go into effect. Thinking about how many calls in Phillies games would have been disrupted in recent weeks, there really are not that many. There was the double-or-home run call that instant replay was used for and the Ryan Howard play I just mentioned. It would not be that bad.
What do the Phillies think about instant replay? Back in 2008, Phillies General Manager Ruben Amaro said to Jim Salisbury, "Boundary calls, home runs are the limit for me." It sounds like replay could go past that, maybe as soon as next year.