ESPN has the story. Here’s how it works:
For now, video will be used only on so-called “boundary calls,” such as determining whether fly balls went over the fence or whether potential home runs were fair or foul.
Video will be collected at the office of Major League Baseball Advanced Media in New York. If the crew chief at a game decides replay needs to be checked, umpires will leave the field, technicians at MLBAM will show umpires the video and the crew chief will make the call.
Personally, I am a fan of bringing instant replay into the game. While critics believe it will slow down the game and destroy the supposed integrity of the game — the same integrity that allowed for segregation, spitballers and steroids — anything that helps umpires get the calls right should be embraced. If the whole nation can see, via instant replay, that a ball left the yard but because the umpires, out of position, couldn’t make a call, why should the game suffer?
What I don’t understand, however, is the need to implement instant replay in a haphazard fashion with 30 games left in the season. Basically, the 2008 season will be played under two sets of rules. We’ll have non-instant replay games from the season’s first five months followed by one month of instant replay. That doesn’t seem like a very logical decision to me.
I think it would have made more sense to bring instant replay online via next spring’s World Baseball Classic and a widespread implementation on Opening Day. But it is what it is, and this move should be applauded.