Re: MLB considering instant replay for everything (except balls & strikes)
I think that you cannot change the home plate ump calling balls and strikes. Regardless of missed calls he makes, it is part of the tradition of the game. Some pitchers and some batters benefit from the missed calls which makes the game the way it is today. Having some computer call the game wouldn't be as exciting. Look at 'pro' Wiffleball. They use a sheet of metal for a strike zone. If the ball hits it, it's a strike. The computer would be the same way, if the pitcher notices a glitch or a questionable ball being called a strike, he could exploit it. A human umpire would be able to adjust and change the strike zone based on different batters sizes. Also, taking out the ump would take out the classic yell at each other reactions between umps, batters, catchers, and managers. As well as the ejections that fire up and excite a crowd. Of course, umps need to learn to take a little criticism before ejecting someone.
However, I think replay has a place in baseball. Umps should still get fair/foul calls on the field since it makes the difference between live and dead balls. What happens if replay determines a bloop hit over 3 is fair, but players played it as a foul ball? Would the batter get first automatically and any runners get 1 base? That is dumb. Umps need to be there to call in the moment calls like that which can turn the tides of a game. But replay should be used in determining 3 things:
1.) Homeruns - whether the ball got over the wall, whether the ball is fair or foul, and review any possible fan interference. Should be view by someone in the booth instead of having 4 umps gather and go into a booth.
2.) Safe vs. Out - still should have umps calling these on the field. But having another review it in the booth would help tremendously. Umps on the field shouldn't be concerned about being overuled since it is hard to see a guy sliding into second or home with dirt flying everywhere and gloves and body parts all obstructing the view. Would have been nice to see DRob's inside HR overturned.
3.) Catches - with guys making diving plays all the time and no umps in the outfield, there should be reviews of these. Balls are bounced into gloves, come out the top, or just roll under a guy who plays it off like he caught it. Definitely could be reviewed and corrected easily with one man in the booth.
In terms of challenges. There should not be any. Basically, a guy in the booth reviews each play and determines if it should be overturned. I can see how a manager might easily take advantage of challenging plays for reivews. Could stall for more time to warm up BP arm or talk to a pitcher struggling on the mound without it counting as a mound visit.
2013 Attendance: 6-0
4/3/13, 4/16/13, 4/17/13, 8/3/13, 8/21/13, 9/7/13