For the first time Tuesday, baseball general managers recommended instant replay be used to help umpires make difficult decisions. The recommendation, by a 25-5 vote, was limited to boundary calls – whether potential home runs are fair or foul, whether balls go over fences or hit the top and bounce back, and whether fans interfere with possible homers.
Baseball commissioner Bud Selig opposes the use of replays but said last month he was willing to let GMs examine the issue.
“I don't like instant replay because I don't like all the delays. I think it sometimes creates as many problems or more than it solves,” Selig said then.
But Jimmie Lee Solomon, an executive vice president in the commissioner's office, thinks Selig's stance has changed a bit recently.
“He seemed to be softer, at least on the consideration of the subject,” Solomon said Tuesday.
He added it was unclear how the proposal will proceed and acknowledged there is “glacier-like movement in baseball” when it comes to innovation. Solomon said if Selig is willing, the commissioner probably would run the idea by owners. The plan needs approval from the players' association and umpires.
Solomon said GMs favored having a Major League Baseball official in a central place with access to all camera angles. If there is a disputed call, that official would be contacted and would view the television replay to make a decision.
“We have a very technologically savvy group of GMs,” Solomon said. “I was surprised that we had five teams that said no.”
Solomon also said that to speed up games, baseball was considering limiting the number of times a hitter could step out of the batter's box during an at-bat and the number of times any player could visit the mound.