Major League Baseball will use instant replay starting this Thursday. It will only be used on close home run balls. Bud Selig will officially announce it later today.
This has been a controversial issue in baseball for the better part of the season. I think it is a good idea. At first, I had mixed feelings about it. But since it's only going to be used to determine home runs, I'm O.K. with it.
Only rarely does an umpire misjudge a home run ball. It's probably happened only three or four times this season, and I don't remember any happening in a clutch situation. But Major League Baseball would rather be safe than sorry because it could decide whether a team makes the playoffs as the season winds down.
I don't think instant replay should be used to determine anything besides a home run, however. No, replay should not be used to check whether a player caught the ball or not. No, replay should not be used to judge whether a player is safe or out. And (obviously) replay shouldn't call balls and strikes. I think if replay was implemented to check those things, the human (otherwise known as umpire) element would be taken from the game.
What I don't understand is why this is suddenly happening in the middle of the season. It would be more sensible to start replay in the playoffs or next season. I guess Major League Baseball doesn't want fans (or more importantly owners) blaming them if their team gets eliminated from the playoffs on a controversial home run call. You know, Major League Baseball has been dwindling its thumbs on this issue for years.