At Fenway, a case for expansion of replay

At Fenway, a case for expansion of replay

At Fenway, a case for expansion of replay
Tigers manager Jim Leyland was unhappy with an umpire's call on Monday. He believed his starting pitcher, Doug Fister, had struck out Red Sox batter Mike Aviles to end the bottom of the second inning at Fenway Park. But home-plate umpire Jeff Nelson disagreed, ruling that the ball had been tipped and that Detroit catcher Gerald Laird hadn't caught it cleanly.

The Red Sox went on to score three runs. Leyland was ejected for arguing the decision. Replays showed that Leyland was right, which once again focused attention on the possibility that video technology could be used to correct umpires' mistakes as soon as next season.

Currently, boundary plays involving home runs are subject to review. However, provisions in the new Collective Bargaining Agreement could expand that to include fair or foul calls and decisions on whether batted balls have been caught or trapped.

It's unlikely that the replay definition will grow much beyond that, at least in the short term.

A key provision of the proposal is that an umpire or umpires would watch games from a "central location" and then signal to the game site when replay shows that there has been a indisputable error.

This change would seem to satisfy those who are concerned about the pace of the game, because umpires wouldn't have to leave the field to review video, as they do now for disputed home runs. It retains the human element. And it would appear to require the addition of more full-time umpiring jobs, which should appeal to the umpire's union.

Paul Hagen is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.