O'Dowd pushes for instant replay
Colorado's GM spearheads technology committee
PHILADELPHIA -- An instant replay debate raged immediately after two hotly disputed plays in the Rockies' 9-8 victory over the Padres in Monday night's National League Wild Card tiebreaker game.
As the argument progresses, helping shape the debate will be Rockies general manager Dan O'Dowd, who happens to be chairman of the GMs technology committee.
O'Dowd favors allowing umpires to go to replay to determine whether a ball is over the fence for a home run or a potential home run is fair or foul. That might have helped on Garrett Atkins' seventh-inning shot to left-center, which appeared to hit a chair behind the wall -- not the padded yellow strip atop a clear fence in play.
"I'm in favor of giving the umpires some help, especially in the newer ballparks with that kind of (home run) call, because there are things that they can't control," O'Dowd said. "I'm not in favor of it on calls on the bases. We don't want to take away the human element."
However, O'Dowd is not in favor of replay deciding safe/out calls. Under such a system, whether the Rockies' Matt Holliday actually touched the plate for the winning run could not be reviewed because of the "human element." Replays revealed Padres catcher Michael Barrett had blocked Holliday.
Of course, Padres fans and those who are convinced Holliday should have been called out might be skeptical of O'Dowd's seemingly convenient opinions as to which plays should be subject to review. But O'Dowd has spent years looking for ways to incorporate replay and arrived at his views long before Monday's play.
Replay has been discussed for some time, and the topic will again be discussed during this year's general managers meetings on Nov. 5-8 in Orlando, Fla.
With Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig having never been in favor of replay, progress on the issue has been glacial, at best. But O'Dowd senses a change.
"There's some momentum inside the walls of the Commissioner's Office," O'Dowd said. "Where it's coming from, I don't know."
Thus far, replay has never been approved by GMs. A proposal would come out of the meeting and be presented to the full body of GMs. If approved there, it would then be presented to owners and, finally, the Commissioner.
The technology committee has looked at allowing laptop computers for data retrieval in the dugout and toyed with increasing the use of video by teams, but the potential for sign-stealing usually brought such conversations to a halt.
O'Dowd, whose team has lost four home runs on calls that replay could have reversed, said the committee decided to drop the other issues.
"We were all over the board in what we wanted to get done," O'Dowd said. "We're just going to simplify it."
Thomas Harding is a reporter for MLB.com This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.