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Instant Replay In Baseball

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Whether it's right or wrong, whether we like it or not, it's coming.

With conservative estimates that instant replay units will be installed in all parks by the end of August, a new era in the game is just around the corner. While Major League Baseball hasn't officially announced the adoption of replay, motions on and off the field have put into play wheels that won't stop. It's already been determined what it will be used for (disputed home runs calls only); all that's left to decide is how to deal with specific situations (if a ball that had initially been ruled a home run is ruled to have, say, hit below the yellow line).

So, what changes? How does this affect the "purity" of the game--or would this, in fact, ensure that the "purity" of the game is upheld? There are a lot of questions in play, and rightfully so. This isn't a change in uniform, it's a significant alteration in determining results.

Ultimately, the institution of replay will ensure that proper calls are made on questionable home run calls. But, like changes in technology, acceptable public behavior or advances made in animation--is this just the first step in what could be a series of major changes and alterations? Five years down the line, will baseball allow Ron Gardenhire to challenge the call that Carlos Gomez was thrown out trying to steal second base, or whether Francisco Liriano's slider was in fact strike three instead of ball four?

Major changes such as the one we're about to see are hardly ever Stand Alone. The question then becomes this: Is it better to allow these types of changes (and this change in particular) in the hope that accuracy is ensured and the right calls are made, in spite of the fact that more controversial addendums to the game will be made, or to not allow any changes and keep the game as it is? There are pros and cons on both fronts, but it certainly appears that as of now Bud Selig and Major League Baseball believe they're bettering the game.

I don't mind this change, but that's by no means a blanket agreement to future alterations or additions to instant replay. Mostly I'm okay with replay because I think it's important to get calls right, especially on big-impact plays. At the same time, there will always be issues with calls that are made on the field, and while home run calls will be accurate there will always be something else to disagree with: Balls and strikes, safe or out, fair or foul, high or low, interference or clean.

By now I think you're all aware of where I'm going with this, no matter what your opinions are. Baseball's next big hurdle will be to know where to draw the line. I'm for this incarnation of instant replay, but am I simply advocating more changes down the line?