All reviews should occur on the field by the home plate umpire a là the NFL. The home plate ump can check a TV in the dugout and communicate with video staff to check all the pertinent angles. Forcing a public mea culpa from an umpire will provide every former little leaguer a hint of retribution and redemption.
Implement an automatic replay for each and every home run. In the time that Manny Ramirez gazes fondly at his work, moonwalks around the bases, and completes a six-step handshake with the batboy, someone in the War Room can double check. If it’s close, the home plate ump should be notified via pager to take a look at the video. Maybe, just maybe, if Manny knows they could reverse the call, he’ll actually sprint to first.
Furthermore, MLB ought to execute a challenge-based review where teams can contest any call other than a home run. We’re going to exclude strikes and balls because we just don’t trust ESPN’s k-zone enough to use it. Foul tips, foul balls, diving catches, plays at the plate and even balks are fair game for the manager of either team. Before you write some irate comment about how this will lengthen a four-hour marathon, keep reading.
Provide each team manager an unlimited amount of challenges. Instead of throwing a red flag on the field as in the NFL, I'm thinking tossing a dip can should suffice.
Each incorrect challenge results in a ‘strike’ against the next player at bat for the challenging team (as in three strikes you’re out). I know this seems tough, but stay with me here. To further dissuade a manager from excessive challenges, each ensuing incorrect challenge results in an additional strike—i.e. two strikes for second, an automatic out for the third. For those who think this is nuts, remember that football coaches sacrifice one of their three timeouts when they challenge incorrectly.
Change the name of the “War Room”. Seriously guys?
Empowering the managers might somewhat justify their illogical need to strap on cleats and sport a size 44 uniform (do they also wear a cup?). The cost of an incorrect challenge should keep the added time to a minimum. Erasing the need for managers to kick dirt on umps in a hopeless, though entertaining, attempt to overturn a call should offset any time added by the review process.
Technology like the Hawk-Eye system used in tennis should be implemented into the framework once deemed accurate enough. Some engineer flunking out of Brown should also develop an audio-based system that determines whether a player’s foot slams into first base before or after the ball slaps the first baseman’s glove. With the floodgates opened, more technology will follow and baseball will be the better for it.
So, Mr. Selig we’re begging you to look both ways before crossing the street, finish your homework before you go out and play and don’t be afraid to ask directions. Because, in the words of Yogi Berra, “You’ve got to be very careful if you don’t know where you’re going or you might not get there.”single page
Five amazing, clean technologies that will set us free, in this month's energy-focused issue. Also: how to build a better bomb detector, the robotic toys that are raising your children, a human catapult, the world's smallest arcade, and much more.