Baseball is the American pastime because of its relaxed pace and lack of a game clock.
But Major League Baseball has seen many changes in the past two decades brought on by greedy owners solely to maximize profits, which have skyrocketed since the last labor stoppage in 1994.
Baseball is now putting a Band-Aid on bad umpiring by allowing more instant replay beginning in 2014.
More instant replay — why?
Instead of being held accountable for their actions, umpires can continue to be callous in their judgment of calling balls fair or foul, or baserunners out or safe.
But any calls other than balls and strikes can be “challenged,” like those in the National Football League.
And like the National Hockey League, all reviewable plays will be evaluated by a video crew operating from MLB headquarters in New York.
Managers will be given three challenges, one for the first six innings and two more from the seventh until the end of the game.
I agree with my SFBay colleague Jen Cosgriff when she says the human element — part of the game since its inception back in 1839 — is what makes baseball great.
Umpires should face fines and suspensions for blown calls. The only punishment they currently receive — if their performance is below par — is that they aren’t considered for postseason games.
Perhaps taking money out of their sizable paychecks wouldn’t be a bad idea. While they don’t draw salaries like ballplayers, they make six figures and enjoy five-star accommodations.
But players — and more importantly, managers — are on board with replay proposal put forth by former skippers Tony La Russa and Joe Torre with Commissioner Bug Selig’s seal of approval.
Sure, replay provides one answer to the problem, but it’s just another stain on the game after performance enhancing drugs and watered-down competition due to expansion and additional playoffs.
Games used to take 2-1/2 hours. I can’t wait to cover a four-hour nine-inning game.
Jack Norworth wrote the lyrics to “Take Me Out To the Ballgame,” and the line about “I don’t care if I never get back” is becoming a sad reality. Nobody needs games that drag on forever, but fans seem to be oblivious.
The great game was once unique. Now, more than ever, it’s just like any other sport. It’s unfortunate, because change isn’t always a good thing.