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Selig still opposed to instant replay

11/10/2005 - MLB

INDIAN WELLS, Calif. -- Bud Selig is standing by his call.
Before general managers could make a pitch for instant replay
Wednesday, the commissioner reiterated his long-held position that
he doesn't think it belongs in baseball.

Following a string of contested calls during the postseason, GMs
had been expected to discuss whether to propose using replay to
review umpires' decisions.
"Yes, we had some incidents that certainly need to be looked
at. So I'm not minimizing them. But do I believe in instant replay?
No, I do not,'' Selig said. "Human error is part of our sport.''
Jimmie Lee Solomon, executive vice president for baseball
operations in the commissioner's office, said that after Selig's
morning address to GMs, none brought up the topic.
"For this season, I don't foresee there being any,'' Solomon
said. "I think that there are a lot of GMs that seem to, at least
in interviews that I read, made comments that they might want to
consider instant replay in some limited situations. So, I think
those GMs and those operations people will bring it up again.''
New Philadelphia general manager Pat Gillick told reporters he
would favor using replay to determine whether balls were home runs
or foul, and whether balls cleared markings on fences that set
boundaries for homers. Those types of calls often lead to
conferences among umpires trying to ascertain who had the best
view.
"Everybody sits at home and gets the advantage of replays,''
Gillick said. "If they want to huddle together for five minutes to
get the play right, they could replay it in the same period of time
or a shorter period of time and get it right.''
Selig said he brought up the subject because he anticipated GMs
would be interested.
"If you get into instant replay, you're going to have games
that just go on endlessly. And that isn't in anybody's best
interest,'' he said. "And where do you stop and where do you start
it?''
If GMs were to approve using replay, their proposal would have
to be ratified by owners before it could be implemented. It's
unclear whether the players' association also would have to agree.
Solomon and Mike Port, hired in August as baseball's vice
president for umpiring, gave a presentation on umpires later in the
day. Port said that before 2000, many umpires were "out of shape,
out of place and out of touch.'' There has been a great improvement
in conditioning, positioning, demeanor and calls since then, the
commissioner's office says.
In the ballparks that used the QuesTec computer system to
analyze ball-and-strike calls, Port said the percentage of
correctly called pitches increased from 92.91 in 2003 to 93.62 the
following season to 94.20 this year. He said the primary
disagreement between umpires and the machines was over pitches up
in the strike zone.
Port said the number of ejections during the regular season
dropped to 289 in 2003 to 236 the following season and 227 this
year, but the ejections that resulted from calls on the bases
doubled from 24 in 2004 to 48 this year.
He said six of the 68 major league umpires were unavailable for
the postseason because of injuries, leaving 62 to be considered.
Because the umps' labor contract says no one can umpire consecutive
postseason series, that means at least 36 umpires must be used in
the postseason.
Solomon and Port said an effort was made to give younger umpires
postseason experience in order to prepare them for playoff games
when current veterans retire.