I understand why baseball umpires are sensitive about instant reply–the technology threatens to eliminate their jobs, or, at least, embarrass them by correcting blown calls. (The point is, after all, that the machines will make better calls than the human umpires.) But listen to the commissioner: instant reply is coming. And, for all of Bud Selig’s shortcomings in baseball’s top spot, he has consistently gotten his way. So, rather than fight the new plan at every stage, why don’t umpires get on board, and see to it that instant replay is implemented in a way that maximizes their importance on the field and their dignity? I don’t know–maybe it’s just me, maybe the umps aren’t thinking this way, but I wouldn’t like to be on the losing side of history, especially for a change that, in the baseball world, will be a big one.
Update 8/22/08: A friend objected to my implication that Selig was pushing instant replay on the league, reminding me that the commissioner was opposed to the plan until the owners voted in favor of it. Nevertheless, Selig is now a proponent, and it will therefore happen.
Update 8/28/08: And it’s here.