Instant replay remains a hot topic these days. Are you for or against it? Our experts dig in and discuss this and much more in Tuesday's Triple Play.
1. Instant replay: For it or against it, want more of it or less, where and why?
Jason Wojciechowski (@jlwoj), Beaneball
I want a replay umpire watching a TV screen for potentially missed fair/foul and safe/out calls. An interesting question is whether to make this person part of the regular crew or a specialized video ump. There are implications for umpire culture (whether close calls would actually be overruled) as well as video expertise (who can be trained to quickly handle the equipment?).
Diane Firstman, Value Over Replacement Grit
I'm for it and want to see more of it if it can be implemented without slowing down the game. Give each manager one challenge per game. If a challenged call is reversed, the "challenging" manager can use his challenge again later. Assign a "replay umpire" to the press box for quick video reviews. In the ninth and extra innings, reviews can only originate with the "replay umpire." Replays can be used for catches, tags and safe/out calls.
2. For calling balls and strikes, is it time to bring on the robots, or shall we continue to celebrate the quirks of the human institution of the plate umpire?
Wojciechowski: Neither. As I understand it, the technology is not yet reliable enough to make it a clear upgrade over the humans. I would also want all professional games to be called by the same system -- humans in the minor leagues and robots in the majors wouldn't make sense. I'm fully on board once these types of issues are smoothed out, though.
Firstman: While I'd love to see perfection in terms of called balls and strikes, the pitch tracking/measuring systems in place now aren't calibrated uniformly throughout the majors. Camera mountings vary from park to park, inevitably leading to fluctuation in readings. Let's keep the human umps, but discipline/fire those with inconsistent ball and strike calls.
3. There aren't a lot of celebrity owners, but Bill Maher now has an ownership stake in the Mets. Is this a good thing for them, for him, and/or for baseball?
Wojciechowski: I'll let Maher's accountants determine whether the move is wise for him, though the psychic benefits of being able to tell friends that you own the Mets (omitting, of course, the "minority ownership" part) are surely worth plenty. For baseball and the team, I don't see a downside. He's divisive, but his HBO program doesn't have that many viewers. Will fans stop showing up because "Religulous" attacked their faith?
Firstman: He's not a majority owner, so his say on day-to-day operations is negligible. He's opinionated, but his opinion isn't worth that much here. He gets to say he's a part owner (hurray!). In general, it's better to have a celebrity owner who has made his fortune through business ventures and understands a balance sheet.