The obviously blown call that stole a perfect game from Armando Galarraga should push Bud Selig and the rest of baseball’s elite to create a strong, consistent replay system of some sort. I strongly believe that in a game struggling to maintain the interest of young people, instituting instant replay could be an opportunity to make baseball seem more a 21st and less a 20th century game. Baseball’s challenge system should be fun.
Here’s my idea. A manager can consult with the umpires on the field and decide to challenge a ruling (or non-ruling). The manager gives the umpire a red ball. If the manager wins the challenge, the umpire returns the red ball. If not, the umpire keeps it. The manager can continue to use the red ball until he loses a challenge (and the ball).
After the red ball has been taken, the manager will still have a blue ball. This ball serves the same function as the red ball except that the blue ball, once taken, will not be returned until the end of the series. Baseball series are usually three games but not always. In some ways, two and four game series may play out a bit differently relative to challenge strategy.
The entire process will add intrigue, drama, strategy and hopefully fairness to individual baseball games. These are the elements that will help ensure folks are talking about baseball for all the right reasons.