Selig says replay to be expanded, discusses Rays

Selig says replay to be expanded, discusses Rays

KANSAS CITY -- Commissioner Bud Selig suggested Tuesday that the use of instant replay will be expanded at some point, but not by much. The future expansion could cover balls hit down the foul lines and trapped balls on outfield plays. But the Commissioner made it clear that he wasn't open to further expansion.

"We're going to expand instant replay when we have the technology to do it," Selig said. "Among all the people I talk to, nobody is anxious to increase instant replay. And I concur with that. That doesn't mean we won't continue to review it. Baseball is a game of pace. We've got to be very sensitive and careful in the way we proceed. I can tell you that the appetite for more instant replay in the sport is very low. There are some people who think we've gone too far already."

His comments came during an appearance before a meeting of the Baseball Writers' Association of America in Kansas City. This was the 10th straight year that Selig appeared at a meeting of the BBWAA to address the state of the game.

Reviewing trap plays and fair/foul calls down the lines will require more cameras -- covering more angles -- than are currently used for typical baseball telecasts. Selig said that the earliest this expansion could occur would be next year.

The expansion of replay was negotiated last year in collective bargaining between the owners and the players and memorialized in the new Basic Agreement. Since the agreement was reached, MLB officials have continued to talk with umpires, who have proposed an increase in camera positions, particularly to deal with fair or foul calls.

The Commissioner also praised the efforts of the Rays organization in fielding a successful team despite having limited revenues, but termed the low attendance at Rays games as "inexcusable." The Rays believe that a new stadium is necessary to keep their operation viable.

"To study the attendance figures every day and see that they're 29th in attendance, it's inexcusable," Selig said. "Nobody can defend that. This is a very competitive baseball team. The average Major League attendance is between 31,000 and 32,000. And if my memory is serving me well, Tampa Bay's attendance is around 19-something. It's disappointing."

Mike Bauman is a national columnist for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.