D-backs welcome expanded replay in MLB

BY foxsports • July 27, 2012

PHOENIX — While most Diamondbacks players had not yet heard of MLB Commissioner Bud Selig's suggestion Friday that expanded instant replay is coming to the league, they are by and large in support of it.

Selig said during an interview on "The Mike Lupica Show" on ESPN New York 98.7 FM he wants to include review of balls hit along the foul lines and balls trapped by fielders.

"We're now going to add it on trapped balls in the outfield and, as I call them, bullets down the right- and left-field line," Selig said. "There are some people who believe that by going to the last two things, maybe I've gone too far and I don't think so."

Count the D-backs among those who agree with Selig. All parties — from pitchers to hitters to outfielders — seem in agreement the opportunity for more correct calls is too good to pass up.

"I'm all for getting the call right," D-backs center fielder Chris Young said. "That's pretty much what it comes down to. Whatever has to be done to get the call right, I think that's the only way you can do it."

Added pitcher Ian Kennedy, also the D-backs' player representative: "I think it's going to be good for the game just to get the calls right. That's really all we care about. As players, like fans, we just want to get the call right."

Baseball's current instant replay system, instituted in 2008, is limited to reviewing home run calls. Selig did not say when the new replay measures could take effect. League officials said in March no expanded replay would be present for the 2013 season, and the new measures would require approval from the league, MLB Players Association and Major League Umpires Association, as outlined by the collective bargaining agreement approved last November.

As with the home run replay, the proposed new measures have their critics. The greatest criticism has been that more reviews would slow games down. The D-backs seem to reject that notion.

"I feel like those could be made quickly if there's somebody (at the MLB offices) in New York already looking at it, watching the game," Kennedy said.

Left fielder Jason Kubel, himself a victim of an incorrect trap call earlier this year (replay showed Kubel made a clean catch), even went a step further refuting the pace argument.

"It's not going to slow the game down," Kubel said. "If anything it could speed it up when there wouldn't be as many arguments out on the field."

Young weighed in as well, saying he wouldn't mind even if the new measures did slow the game down. He'd rather have the right call. And besides, Young said, it’s likely the new rules would only affect a handful of plays. It is unclear yet how the replays would be conducted, whether by the umpires on the field leaving the field to view video or an additional reviewing the play off the field.

The other common criticism of expanded replay is how certain reviews would change what has already happened on the field. An example: How many bases a hitter gets on a ball originally ruled foul but overturned. Or if a runner on base would have scored.

Selig on Friday did not offer any details or thoughts on how those situations might be handled.  Kennedy said such concerns were discussed at length during Players Association meetings in the offseason.

"That's why I think it's not determined yet (when new replay will be instilled) but they're definitely considering it," Kennedy said. "It's tricky."

Young agreed such situations could complicate the use of new reviews, but believes players for the most part trust that umpires would be able to fairly determine the necessary outcomes.

Baseball purists also worry that another expansion of instant replay will only lead to more and more. Though D-backs manager Kirk Gibson has garnered a bit of an old school reputation, he does not worry about instant replay going too far.

"What's too far?" Gibson asked. "All things lead to another. (Selig) monitors what's too much. It's part of his job, his responsibility and he's done a good job of it and he'll continue to do so.

"I think I'm somewhat conservative and traditional. But at the same time, I don't think I live with my head in the sand and don't welcome constructive and productive change."

Gibson didn't offer a definitive opinion on the proposed additions, instead reiterating his support for Selig's decisions and praising the work he has done in baseball's best interests.

Kennedy said the players also discussed the fine line with replay and how far it could go. There does not, he said, appear to be much concern among players that replay will get to the point of reviewing balls and strikes or outs at bases. That sentiment is consistent in the D-backs clubhouse.

"I think Selig's even said this is it really," Kubel said. "I believe him. I don't think we need to go further than (the proposed additions). It's only to this point now because everything’s on TV — everybody sees everything anyway. We're just going to get it all right now.

"It will help make the calls 100 percent right instead of about 95 percent right."

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