Last week Armando Galarraga threw a perfect game for the Detroit Tigers, retiring all 28 batters that he faced. I know a perfect game is 27 batters, but in this case the umpire had blown the call on the 27th out of the game. Jim Joyce recognized after the game that he blew the call and the kid's chance in the record books and apologized. Immediately, critics jumped at the chance to call for instant replay. Had instant replay been implemented for not just home runs, the call would have been overturned. However, is that human error not part of the game of baseball. Calls are blown all of the time that affect games, but it is the better team that can overcome the call and ultimately win the game.
Umpire Joe West earlier in the season complained about the pace of a game he officiated between the Yankees and Red Sox. If he is complaining now about the length of a game, what will he say when he has to go into the clubhouse, cue up the replay, watch multiple angles of the play, and make a decision on the call. The process can lengthen a game significantly based on how many calls the umpires review.
Almost every game I have seen this season, and I have watched part of a game every day, there always seems to be a close play at one of the bases that could go either way. Does the game of baseball want to slow down the game more than it already is with players stepping out after every pitch? Fans will become disinterested in a game that is already losing the attention of its youth to faster paced games, such as football and basketball.
The length of the replay can directly affect the game in regards to the pitcher. If the replay takes too long without a pitcher being able to stay warm, he can get injured or the manager may decide to go with another pitcher because of the length of the replay, similiar to what would happen during a rain delay of significant length.
If Bud Selig decides to implement instant replay on the basepaths, it should be a similiar process as in the NFL. Each manager can challenge one or two calls, excluding homeruns in which case the umpires will decide to review, on questionable decisions. As well, Commissioner Selig should make sure that the replays do not last more than five minutes and if no decision is made, the play stands as called.
With homeruns it is a different story, the umpire goes in, checks to see if it clears the wall and comes back and informs the teams two to three minutes later. However, where does instant replay stop? Do they check every ball that comes close to fair or foul, did the outfielder trap the ball, even interference? Baseball is a game that depends very much so on human error and the excitement of a mistake makes this great game and past time that much better.