A baseball manager is having a meltdown and starts yelling before he even leaves the dugout. He leaps onto the field, gesturing wildly, and strides across the field until his face is inches away from the ump’s. He may toss his hat in disgust, shout some expletives and get thrown out of the game. The manager meltdown is a revered baseball tradition, but instant replay could be taking it away.
In addition to using pure gut instinct to decide whether to ask for an instant replay, managers have to know which plays are the most statistically important. They don’t want to burn up their single replay on an unimportant play. Fans who love to bet on baseball will be watching just how well managers handle their instant replay strategies. It’s something that could recharge the game, just like many changes from the past have done.
Of course, baseball isn’t a sport whose fans thrive on change. Additions like gloves, batting helmets and numbered uniforms, at one time, were enough to initiate some serious fan meltdowns. Let’s take a look back at how baseball has coped with big changes in the past. If the past is the best predictor of the future, instant replay will work out just fine. Read the rest of this entry →