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Sports that are using instant replay have reported success, with the most notable case being National Football League (NFL). In fact, the reported success in NFL was a contributing factor towards the use of instant replay in Major Baseball League. The use of instant replay commenced in a rather limiting manner, with the only approved use being to establish whether a ball is a home run or not, which involves reviewing boundary home calls in ascertaining a fair or foul, if the ball went beyond the playing field, and determining fan interference (Beamer 5). Support for the use of instant replay is based on the need for making accurate calls on home runs. On the other hand, those against the use of instant replay cite the significant delays it causes to the game and undermining the official’s authority. An expanded use of instant replay in MLB can eliminate instances of missed calls, and could result in a change of the outcome of the close games (Beamer 8). Despite this, instant replay is a contentious subject in MLB. Other leagues are embarking on an extensive use of instant replay. The NFL and NHL have reported significant benefits from instant replay; a similar approach can be used in MLB. This paper compares and contrasts two articles arguing for and against the use of instant replay in MLB.
The first argument in support for use of instant replay in MLB is that it will help in avoiding missed or bad calls, which are usually costly for baseball teams. Beamer (12) argues that, in baseball, one missed or bad call is significant enough to affect the outcome of the game. Beamer further asserts that the acceptance of human error is just a mere excuse that increases the loophole of exploitation by field umpires. Instant replays serve to enhance the accuracy of umpire’s decisions, and have been used successfully in cricket. Controversial runs can be resolved through instant video replays. Therefore, instant replays are the key towards making baseball a game of the future, which is error free. Beamer (8) argues that instant replays provide an opportunity for solving contests fairly and accurately, through ensuring accuracy and precision of calls during field play.
The second argument in support for use of instant replays is that it will increase the accountability of umpires. Accountability is important for any job, especially in cases whereby critical decisions made impose significant effects on the outcomes of the game. The basic argument is that an extensive use of instant replay in MLB will increase the accountability of umpires during game play. Beamer (12) points out that MLB has a duty to the baseball teams, their sponsors, players and spectators to ensure that the big calls are done accurately. Baseball is considered a professional outfit with huge amounts of money at stake. The placement of TV cameras in the field serves to ensure that every corner of the ballpark is covered in order to enhance the precision of getting the calls. According to Beamer (12), accountability of the umpires of more significance than their authority, and that the precision of getting the calls is more significant than protecting the game. In fact, making proper calls serves to protect the game. Human error is perceived as an excuse for embracing imperfection, which can alter the outcomes of the game (Beamer 12).
The third argument in support of instant video replays is that they are not lengthy in an actual game scenario. Game interruptions are a common occurrence during field play, implying that there is no need to reject the implementation of instant replays basing on accounts that it results increased delays and drags the game.
On the other hand, Isaac Thorn is against an expanded use of instant replay in baseball since it serves to lengthen the average time of an MLB game. The existing system is already lengthy, implying that video reviews during game time bring the game to halt. Such reviews are likely to take seven minutes, which Thorn considers as long breaks, for an already lengthy MLB game. Thorn (5) asserts that implementing instant replay in MLB baseball will only serve to counteract the efforts that are being implemented to speed up MLB games. Other sports such as football and tennis have reported significant benefits from instant replay because such games focus more on line play and out of bounds than baseball. Therefore, an expanded use of instant replay will increase the length of MLB game to about 3-4 hours, which will make it harder for fans to attend MLB games. Therefore, Thorn considers an extensive use of instant replay as a huge drag on baseball.
The second argument against an extensive use of instant replay in MLB is that it serves to undermine the authority vested on the field Umpires. Despite the fact that accountability is a necessity, questioning the decision of the umpire is not allowed. Like any other human beings, umpires are prone to mistakes, which will always be a typical characteristic of the game. There is no other way to overcome the occurrence of human errors during the game. Thorn (7) asserts that an underlying fact is that most of the field umpires make right calls most of the time, with a small limit allowable for human error. From this point of view, Thorn (7) argues that an extended use of instant replay is likely to affect the quality of umpiring in MLB games. Cases of missed calls by umpires are rare. Thorn criticizes the proponents of instant replay on accounts that they fail to take into account the fact that human error is and will always be a significant part of the baseball game. Thorn (8) argues that it is vital to acknowledge human error since it is inevitable; therefore, it should be used as an opportunity to improve umpiring and quality of outcomes.
The third argument against the use of instant replay in MLB is that extensive reviews have the capability of hurting the game from both the players’ and fans perspective. Thorn (7) asserts that the flow is a baseball game is extremely delicate. For instance, professional hitters use routine, implying that an interruption of the sequence imposes significant effects on game play. The case is same for professional pitchers. In addition, a call for replay for every strike can turn out to be horrible for the typical spectator to enjoy the game.
In conclusion, it is apparent that both the arguments regarding the use of instant replay in MLB are strong. In sporting, it is a fact that accountability is vital in reinforcing the accuracy of decisions made by officials and serves to indicate their commitment towards enhancing the game and improving the outcomes. Authority of the officials is important in ensuring that the rules of the game are followed, but should be traded off especially when it can affect the actual outcomes of the game such as robbing players of fair games. This implies that instant replays in MLB should be implemented, although under rules that determine who can make calls for reviews and under what circumstances.