Major League Baseball will begin testing an expanded replay system at Yankee Stadium and Citi Field in New York during the final month of the season.
Two different types of replay systems will be tested out. First, the Hawkeye system which uses cameras during tennis matches to quickly determine in and out calls. The other system being tested out is a radar system used during golf coverage to track shots on television throughout tournaments.
Starting in September the Hawkeye system will be used during Mets home games at Citi Field and on off-days. The radar system will be used during Yankee home games and on off-days at Yankee Stadium. MLB officials are quick to point out that the systems are only being installed for testing purposes and not for actual game use this season.
The biggest hold up so far for expanding instant replay during MLB games is that it will slow down the pace of the game, which is often criticized for taking too long without expanded replay.
This concern is being felt by fans.
“While I want them to get calls right, I don’t want games that are taking 3-4 hours to start taking 4-5 hours,” said New York Yankee fan Steven Rubin.
In 2008 MLB began using instant replay on home run calls and ever since have been getting pressure from fans to join the other three major sports leagues in using replay more often.
Expanded replay testing will be used at games during the Arizona Fall league before a study is put together and presented at the owners meetings in November. While no definite date or time has been placed on when expanded replay will begin, commissioner Bud Selig has been on record stating that he would like calls of fair/foul and catch/trap balls to begin next season.
Had replay expansion began this season, one of the year’s biggest accomplishments would have been erased from the record books. On June 1, Mets pitcher Johan Santana threw the team’s first no-hitter in franchise history. However, during the game St. Louis Cardinals outfielder Carlos Beltran hit a ball over third base that was called foul. After showing replays the ball clearly struck the chalk on the third base line making it a fair ball. Beltran proceeded to strike out later in the at bat.
“As a Mets fan I am thrilled that they did not have a replay system in place to check that call,” said Bill Jordan, a New York resident. “As a baseball fan though I feel they should have a more expansive system in place to make sure calls are fair and accurate. If the technology is there use it.”
While a traditional replay system is in place for home run calls during games, MLB appears to want the most accurate system in place before allowing replay expansion. With fan support and public approval from commissioner Selig it seems as if a new and improved replay system is on its way into major league baseball.