Most Bucs disapprove of instant replay
Informal poll shows majority of players prefer status quo
ST. LOUIS -- As Major League Baseball continues to move toward testing out the implantation of instant replay, a survey done in the Pirates clubhouse revealed a much less favorable stance than the one MLB appears to have concerning instant replay's place in the game.
It was first reported just over a week ago that there are tentative plans to use instant replay in the Arizona Fall League later this year. Further testing in Spring Training games next year would likely be the next logical step before the proposal would be under consideration for regular season games.
The expected instant replay proposal would advocate using it solely for outfield fair and foul calls as well as home run calls. General managers voted 25-5 in favor of trying replay for these types of calls during the GM meetings last November.
However, as plans seem to be moving forward, members of the Pittsburgh club seemed to fear what minimal instant replay would eventually progress into.
"I don't think it does belong," Adam LaRoche said. "If you do [use instant replay], you get robot umpires. It will start with [boundary calls], and then all of a sudden we'll be throwing flags. I think it's gotten along pretty good for 100 years without it, so why bring it in now?"
Jason Bay shared the same sentiments, in addition to bringing up instant replay's contradiction to MLB's new initiative to speed up the pace of games.
"If you do it for home run calls, then all of a sudden it's going to creep its way into other areas," he said. "Mistakes are part of the game. They are trying to do all these things to speed things up and that seems like it would be kind of counterproductive."
Keeping instant replay out of judgment calls (balls and strikes, calls at the plate) was unanimous, though there were some players who said they wouldn't be opposed to seeing how instant replay could benefit in other areas.
"I think if there's a limit to what it might be able to help, like for home run calls, then it could be OK," Xavier Nady said.
Players brought up other legitimate concerns as well, including how the system would be implemented, what its limits would be and who would be put in charge of viewing the replay.
And while each of the other three major U.S. professional sports -- basketball, football and hockey -- use replay, in baseball there seem to still be concerns about it tainting the tradition of the game.
"Before you can say yes or no, you have to say how," manager John Russell said. "The game of baseball has been played for so long without it, I don't know."
Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.