Major League Baseball owners have agreed to test two different advanced replay systems live during games starting next week, and if they prove accurate they could precede an overhaul of the system for the 2013 season, sources told Yahoo! Sports.
MLB will analyze a radar-based system and a camera-based system, both similar to the one used in tennis for down-the-line fair-or-foul calls. Yankee Stadium and Citi Field will be the guinea-pig parks for the systems, which have been installed recently.
The use of the systems will be strictly in the background and for analysis. Because the number of questionable plays during games is likely to be limited, MLB plans to do extra testing on non-game days. Before implementing the technology in its 30 ballparks, the league wants to ensure its accuracy is up to standard.
As Jeff Passan notes in the article, this is essentially an accuracy gauge test, and the system has to show MLB officials that it can provide a definitive improvement on things like fair/foul calls. The fact that they’re testing it does not mean that they’re going to decide to use it, or that it could be implemented quickly, or that Bud Selig is aware that a lot of fans of his sport are in favor of expanded replay.
However, trying it out is better than continuing to proclaim that there aren’t enough people writing letters decrying the lack of technology used to help umpires get as many calls correct as possible. At least this gives us some hope that the test may go well, that MLB officials may see the value in expanded replay, and that we may be headed towards a day when the officials on the field have access to the same (or better!) information that everyone watching on TV has.
It’s a small step, but it’s a step in the right direction.
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