Opinion: Major League Baseball replay system shouldn’t be dumped just yet

John Farrell Red Sox
Red Sox manager John Farrell barks at umpires in New York last weekend after coming up on the wrong end of the stick when it comes to MLB’s new replay system. Credit: Getty Images

User errors aside, Major League Baseball’s problem isn’t its new replay system on its own. “Replay issues” are simply what’s on minds of those in our “OH LOOK! A NEW INTERNET MEME!” culture right now. This minute.


Because Jerry Remy’s son didn’t beat anyone up in prison this week, Papi’s selfie with POTUS is yesterday’s controversy, and Jenny Dell has stayed off of Instagram for a hot minute. It’s because the Red Sox are in the basement of the AL East, but it’s too early to panic; because the Bruins don’t start their playoff push until Game 1 at the Garden Friday night and finally, because the biggest moment of the Celtics season happens on May 20 — well after the games stop, during the NBA Draft Lottery.

To be fair, the Red Sox were victims of the dreaded learning curve against the Yankees last weekend. Two blown calls by umpires using the newly instated replay system resulted in two tough losses to a division foe that could prove costly come September. The spectacle around these blunders was almost surreal – culminating, of course, with John Farrell’s ejection from Sunday night’s nationally televised game after arguing about the shoddy review process that lacked conclusive evidence.

Even worse, this was on the heels MLB’s flimsy explanation of Saturday afternoon’s blown call. The umpires “did not have immediate access to the conclusive angle” in that one. Huh?

You may be thinking to yourself, “It’s 2014. We’re like four years away from telepathic technology – how do the umpires NOT have access to the same angles we’re seeing on television?” And you’re not far off. Remember, this is the same league with official team Facebook pages which are hacked on an alarming basis. Technology and baseball are sworn enemies.

Whether there’s merit to this learning curve existing in the first place is a different argument for a different day. And nothing written in this missive so far illustrates any semblance of confidence that Bud Selig and company will clean things up, and figure this whole replay thing out in the immediate future. Still, while MLB may lack tact, it’s important to avoid combining administrative ineptitude with a concept.

The precept of replay isn’t to fine tune the game by completely removing an umpire’s subjectivity from the equation; it’s to serve as a safeguard which corrects an instantaneous judgment when it’s egregiously wrong. Is the process perfect? Absolutely not, but replay helps sustain the integrity of the game, and if last weekend was a small tariff toward refinement, then so be it.

Catering to the whims of angry fans and the enabling sports media is a dangerous venture. The Red Sox were victims of an unstable process, not a capability. Eliminating the use of replay entirely is irresponsible.

Follow Ryan Hadfield on Twitter @Hadfield__


Brooklyn man charged in roommate's stabbing death

A Brooklyn man accused of violently stabbing his roommate to death on Monday is in police custody and faces murder charges.


Dinosaurs could have survived asteroid strike

It turns out there is a good and a bad time for the planet to be hit by a meteor, and dinosaurs were just unlucky.…


OkCupid admits to Facebook-style experimenting on customers

By Sarah McBrideSAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - OkCupid, a top U.S. matchmaking website, intentionally mismatched users to test its technology, the IAC/InterActive Corp service said on…


MTA fares still increasing 4 percent in newly…

The agency said the 4 percent increases, previously announced in December, will remain steady even as the MTA deals with increasing labor costs.


Interview: Brendan Gleeson on the way 'Calvary' depicts…

Brendan Gleeson talks about how his new film "Calvary" began over drinks and how his character here is the opposite of the lead in "The Guard."


'Get on Up' producer Mick Jagger on the…

Mick Jagger, a producer on the James Brown biopic "Get on Up," talks about the time had to tell the singer some bad news and his favorite JB record.


'Glee' star Lea Michele to appear on 'Sons…

"Glee" star Lea Michele has been confirmed as a guest star in the final season of "Sons of Anarchy."


TV watch list, Monday, July 28: 'The Bachelorette'…

See Andi Dorfman make her big choice on tonight's 'Bachelorette' finale.


Angelo Cataldi: Ryan Howard deserves better from Phillies

Just last week, Ryan Howard endured the embarrassment of a benching that was inevitable, and yet still shocking.


Larry Donnell has inside track in Giants tight…

Little-known Larry Donnell of Grambling State currently has the inside track, as the second-year player has received the bulk of the first-team reps.


Computer to Jets: Start Michael Vick over Geno…

Jets general manager John Idzik says the choice of who starts between second-year quarterback Geno Smith and veteran Michael Vick will be a “Jets decision.”


Yankees looking to trade for Josh Willingham: Report

CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman reported Sunday the Yankees are interested in Twins outfielder Josh Willingham.


Glasgow: Hey, hey, the gangs aren't here

This European city has done a good job getting rid of its more violent residents and revitalizing with artists.


Babson College tops list of best colleges for…

Money magazine has just released its inaugural list of "The Best Colleges for Your Money" -- and the answers have surprised many. Babson College, which…


NYC teens learn how to develop apps during…

Through a program sponsored by CampInteractive, the high schoolers designed their own community-focused apps.


The Ministry of Silly Walks app is both…

Monty Python have dug into their back catalogue for cash-ins once more, but with the Ministry of Silly Walks app, they've made something that's fun too.