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Baseball GMs need more time to explore instant replay

11/15/2006 - MLB

NAPLES, Fla. -- When it comes to instant replay, baseball general managers want to look it over.

GMs plan to talk about the topic some more, and perhaps make recommendations in the future, even though they know commissioner Bud Selig is against the having replays aid umpires' decisions.

"There is sufficient interest in it that it really warrants further discussion," baseball senior vice president Joe Garagiola Jr. said Wednesday at the GMs' annual meetings. "There's no specific action item at the moment. We just want to keep talking about the different ways it could come into play and just keep kind of refining our thinking on the topic."

GMs have repeatedly discussed the topic but know replays aren't likely to be used while Selig is in charge. Two years ago, GMs split 15-15 on a vote to further consider the use of replay.

"The commissioner's views on instant replay are well known, but I also know he respects the body here," Garagiola said. "So it's an important topic to continue to discuss."

Cubs manager Lou Piniella, who has been known to speak his mind to umpires, doesn't think there's a need for replays.

"Umpires do a really nice job," he said. "I think that's the way baseball has been played since inception. I don't see any reason to change it."

GMs did approve several changes. Starting next year, a team can change its postseason roster up until 10 a.m. on the day its first game is played, not when it is scheduled. That came in response to the postponement of the NL Championship Series opener between the Mets and Cardinals.

Starting next year, tie games will be a thing of the past -- if a regulation game is tied when stopped by rain, and it will be suspended and resumed at the point where it was interrupted. That change was approved last year but not ratified by the players' association, which can delay rules modifications for one year but can't block them.

GMs didn't approve a proposal to have games suspended that were not yet regulation -- in other words, if there is a rainout after two innings, the game still will be wiped out and replayed from the start.

In a rule change that must be approved by owners and the union, umpires proposed that weekends count for waivers during spring training.

Baseball also revealed a number of statistics on umpires. The Questec computer system, used in 11 ballparks, said 94.91 percent of ball-strike calls were correct, up from 94.20 percent in 2005. That represents a decline from 8.65 to 7.64 missed pitches per game.

Ejections dropped from 227 to 218 this year, and warnings fell from 79 to 68. There were 30 hit batters after warnings, leading to the ejection of 12 pitchers.