MLB planning an NFL style challenge system to review bad calls

Sam Greenwood

While any system to get more calls correct would be an improvement, MLB hasn't picked a very good one as far as I'm concerned

Controversies caused by botched calls have been a big part of the past several postseasons, and Major League Baseball has decided that they're going to push forward a new system to reduce the number of those. While all of the specifics of that system have not yet been released, Ken Rosenthal had the following on what we could be seeing as early as next year:

Under the proposed rules, managers will be allowed one challenge over the first six innings of games and two after the seventh inning. Calls that are challenged will be reviewed by a crew in MLB headquarters in New York City, which will make the final ruling.

I don't want to speak for everyone else, but this doesn't sound like a massive improvement to me. It's great that we're looking to expand instant replay and get more calls right, but this system seems like a pretty half-assed attempt at doing so. It's not a particularly good or efficient system in the NFL, and it's probably not going to be any better for Major League Baseball.

If baseball feel like they need to copy another professional sport in their attempt to fix mistakes, I'd suggest they take a closer look at what the NHL does. NHL replays tend to take a fraction of the time that the NFL challenges do, and the system doesn't involve controversy created when the coach (or manager) use their challenges too early or don't follow the correct procedure. Taking human error out of officiating is something we all want to see, but doing so by giving managers the chance to screw things up instead doesn't seem like the way to go.

If we're going to have a guy in New York sitting by the TV and ruling on calls anyway, why not have him just contact the umpire whenever they make a bad one? Plays at bases, foul balls, and whether or not a ball is caught are fairly easy calls to get right by that method, and I'd much rather see them all corrected than have just a few overturned before a manager runs out of challenges. The proposed system we're hearing about is certainly better than nothing, but I'd much rather see the league take an extra year and come up with a quality fix rather than locking themselves into this ridiculous challenge system for the next several seasons.

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