News Local/State

Evaluating MLB’s New Replay Rules


It’s nearly two full months before the start of the Major League Baseball season, but the national pastime could take a cue from the nearly concluded NFL season.

Baseball has only recently relied on instant replay to review calls, tracking whether home runs actually cleared an outfield wall.

But new rules approved by MLB two weeks ago will change all that – letting the manager challenge a series of other plays. 

And the reversal of some plays could rely on the efforts of umpires that aren't even at the game - but rather, watching from a replay command center in New York.

Sports attorney Eldon Ham said for this new replay system to work, baseball will have to become a bit more like football in that respect.

"I don't see anything here in terms of the standard to use," he said.  "In football, it took several years for these experienced officials to get it right.  But in football, at least you have the indisputable evidence standard - which says you leave the call on the field alone, unless there's indisputable evidence to the contrary.  It took years for the NFL to figure out what that meant." 

Ham also teaches a course in sports law and society at Chicago Kent College of Law. 

He's the author of "All The Babe's Men," a book about the emergence of the home run as a fixture in the kind of baseball that many are famliiar with today.