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Published:July 2nd, 2010 10:48 EST
Major League Baseball is on the Right Track for Reviewing Disputed Home Run Calls

Major League Baseball is on the Right Track for Reviewing Disputed Home Run Calls

By Ron G Anselm

Something that is really unheard of to the retro baseball fan is now taking shape at all thirty Major League Baseball ball parks; the viewing of disputed calls. No, we are not talking disputed calls when it comes to umpires making bad calls on the base paths, or questionable calls by the Home Plate Umpire when it comes to balls and strikes, but rather disputed home run calls.

Yes, through the years, there have been bad home run calls by umpires. The main problem was when a ball was hit down either the right field or left field line and then just before it made its ways into either of those bleachers, the ball may have been so close to the foul line that when it zoomed past the foul pole the umpire called the ball foul when it really was a home run, or called a home run when the ball was foul.

Some ball parks like the old Veteran`s Stadium in Philadelphia used to have a yellow line painted across the outfield wall. The line was painted starting at the left field foul line across the centerfield wall in then ending at the right field foul pole. It was also probably about a foot down from the very top of the wall. 

Any ball that was hit above the yellow line but did not make its way into the bleachers over the wall was a home run and yes, I have seen many games at the old Veterans Stadium where there were missed home run calls, when the ball was clearly above the yellow line and the umpire missed the home run call, too bad for the Phillies back then, even though I was never a Phillies fan.

Now, baseball is finally on the right path to alleviating the missed calls by the umpire with the new installation of the replay viewing system. Here`s how the new system works, Monitors are being installed at various locations around the ball park the new system is in. It may be installed in some dugouts, near the umpire dressing rooms, or around the outfield walls.

The monitor will capture any disputed calls, say a disputed home run call, the instant replay feed will be sent from the Major League Baseball`s Advance Media office in Manhattan, New York to the umpiring crew at any particular ball park. The crew chief on site will then be given the task of either over turning the call or to sustain the call.

 This will be the same concept as in the NFL when you see the Lead Referee call time out on a disputed call when either of the Head Coaches throw the red flag (review flag), then the Lead Referee goes into the review booth on the field which is like a large camera, he peers into the camera to watch the play again. He then has thirty seconds to make his decision to overturn the call or The play stands on the field.

 This is something that will hopefully turn out to be a good thing for baseball because as we that fans know, lately with all the bad calls, baseball does need an instant replay system to be able to review disputed calls. I mean, the NFL has it, baseball also needs it.

 For now the system is only going to review questionable home run calls. Maybe, if it does prove to be a positive thing, somehow technology may be able to hook up a new system that can have a full field view. Then, it can start reviewing bad and missed calls by the umpires on the base paths.

We also do not want to see this system grow way too much and start reviewing balls and strikes calls at home plate. That would be way too much to have to continuously stop the game and review every pitch when the umpire may have missed the call when the ball was inside or outside the strike zone.

Angel Stadium in Anaheim, California was the latest ball park to get this new system. It is still being installed around the league with many ball parks already finished getting it installed. Baseball wants the new system installed at every ball park by the time the playoffs roll around this year.

This new system sounds like it is at first just going to be on a trial basis. Bud Selig, the Commissioner of Major League Baseball made a good point. This concept is very new to professional baseball and everyone wants to make sure that when the system does expand or is in full swing that any problems are already worked out and all issues are taken care of. He went on to say, "When we do it I want to make sure it`s very good, that it`s perfect.

We have spent a lot of time, doing a lot of checking. They`re wiring 30 parks. And Chelsea, where the headquarters will be at MLBAM, I`ve been over there to look at it and it`s unbelievable. (Selig, 2010) He then added, "It`s a lot of fun. But there`s still work to be done and I don`t want to put a date on it. Let`s just say my confidence is growing." Meaning before the system is completely installed with complete capabilities; he is taking it in a step by step fashion to make sure the new system will work and review any disputed calls accurately.

Reference:

MLB. Com,  http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20080820&content_id=3339762&vkey=news_mlb&fext=.jsp&c_id=mlb. The Bud Selig interview used in this article. Retrieved 2010.