Replay reviews a bad move for baseball

Published 11:22 am Monday, April 2, 2018

Southeastern Conference baseball is a compelling sport to watch, what with the drama and hyper-competition between the best teams in America.

But the SEC is risking ruining a good thing by experimenting with expanded video reviews by umpires. Games are already long enough. Too long, perhaps.

Take No. 4 Ole Miss’ weekend series against No. 5 Arkansas as an example. Each of the games lasted more than three hours and two of the three lasted just shy of three-and-a-half hours.

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We understand that competitive games with lots of hitting require multiple pitching changes that extend games. We don’t understand the SEC’s insistence upon adding more video replay.

Once upon a time, umpires on the field made the calls and that was that. They got most right, occasionally they missed some. The ones they missed usually balanced out over time, ultimately being fair to both teams.

This season, SEC baseball has added a rule so that all force and tag plays can be reviewed as well as a number of base-running calls. Umpires can review tag-ups and foul/fair balls. Coaches have also been empowered to challenge calls.

Talk about a baseball buzz kill. In close games, umpires have already become hooked and it is taking away from the game, extending them beyond reason.

It’s the fans who are losing.

We hope the SEC will end such expanded video replay experimentation after this season.