[tl;dr] Expanding Baseball’s Instant Replay and Limiting Extra Innings

Monday, while watching Nationals play the Braves I saw an interesting play that I hope will be reviewable when instant replay expands next year. No, I’m not a fan of instant replay for a number of reasons, but this is a situation in which most umpires would hopefully agree review is needed. The Braves were batting in the bottom of the fourth with two outs and runners on first and second. Gerald Laird singles to center, Freddie Freeman scores from second, and Dan Uggla is thrown out by Denard Span while attempting to advance to third. Sounds like a typical scoring play, except in this case it isn’t.

The putout recorded by National’s third baseman Chad Tracy happens almost simultaneously while Freeman scores. Home plate umpire Laz Diaz is in position to see signal from third base umpire Mark Wegner and the tag at home by Tracy, but because of the timing probably gets the play wrong (advance to :47).

Normally, I wouldn’t touch on such a scenario, but at that point the Braves had just tied the game 2-2 and later went on to win 3-2.

Through no fault or lack of effort did the umpires get that play wrong, but did so because of the timing of the play.

These plays are exactly the types of plays instant replay can resolve correctly.

Also on Monday, the Angels and Athletics played 19 innings. The game ended almost seven hours after it started or somewhere near 5am on the east coast. In the regular season, this is unacceptable. Major League Baseball needs to come up with a limit for the number of extra innings. I propose three extra innings for a total of 12 before the game is declared a tie.

Teams shouldn’t be forced to essentially play and additional unplanned game in one day then be expected to play the next day and have quality pitching or hitting. Baseball isn’t nearly as phsycially taxing as football and hockey, so if the NFL and NHL can agree on ties, so can MLB. NBA, you need to look at this too.

Generally, I’m a traditionalist when it comes to baseball being against instant replay, the designated hitter, interleague play, and limiting the length of games, but the two changes listed above benefit both players and fans and should be implemented next season.

tl; dr is a tech nerd term for too long; didn’t read. the purpose of these posts is to provide a quick summary and analysis of something interesting in the sports world.

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