oakland A's

Anger Management: How the new MLB replay system has singlehandedly eliminated one of the thrills of baseball

Tommy, you will always be my favorite.

Tommy, you will always be my favorite.

Tommy Lasorda. Bobby Cox. Lou Pinella. Legendary coaches. Legendary temper tantrum throwers. If you have never seen any of these men in the heights of rage, do yourself a favor, click on some of these gems I have provided you of some of my all time favorite baseball managers flipping the fuck out on the men we simply call "Blue". (Blue is the nickname for baseball umpires for the sports-deficient reader)


Fast forward to the 2014 Major League baseball season. With the new age of official replays and managerial challenges, these three Pitbulls would essentially have been reduced to muzzled mutts.

The last of the 3 major US sports to adopt replay technology to assist officiating, baseball now has in place a new video system that allows umpires and coaches to review and change controversial calls. Umpires can now convene on questionable home run/foul ball calls, out/safe calls, and through a centralized video review center in NYC, uphold or overturn a call. In addition, managers get one challenge per game to use, similar to how the NFL does their system. While it is true that getting the call correct is of the most importance, what the system has unintentionally done is removed the ancient art of arguing a call.

Case and point: I was watching a Minnesota Twins-Oakland A’s game this afternoon (yes, I am a big baseball fan to watch THAT matchup), and a ball was hit down the right field line. On first glace, it looked like the ball may have hit the line for a fair ball, but it was called foul by the umpire. At this point, the always hot headed Ron Gardenhire ran out to talk to the umpire about the potential missed call. Usually, the result of this would be veins popping out of Ron’s balding head, his skin turned to a strawberry hue, and maybe an ejection with expletives and physical gestures of displeasure. Instead, he walked out calmly, had a time wasting chit chat with the umpire while bench coach Paul Molitor looked at replays of their own, confirmed the ball was, indeed foul, and gave Ron the “no go” signal. While it may be beneficial to have coaches not get ejected from games, some of the best parts of attending a game live were the flamboyant displays by coaches upset with calls, and fans cheering as a visiting teams coach was thrown out of the game. Now, we will see neutered versions of Ron Gardenhime, Buck Showalter and Donny Baseball.

They say there are certain records that will never be broken. DiMaggio’s 56 game hit streak. Cal Ripken’s 2632 consecutive games played. Now, we can add one more that, because of the newe replay system, will be damned near impossible to do: Bobby Cox record 158 ejections. At this point, the only way you can get ejected is if you disagree with technology and try to break the replay monitors.