According to a report from USA Today, MLB owners are considering a proposal that would completely overhaul baseball's replay system, instituting it for every play besides balls and strikes. It could—could—be in place in time for the 2014 season.
Umpires are allowed to review boundary calls on home runs: fair or foul, fan interference, and whether it left the playing field. That's how it's been since 2008, and everyone loves it. But it's not enough.
The proposal will be presented to owners today by a task force led by MLB executives Joe Torre and Tony La Russa. If the owners like it, it'll need approval from the players' and umpires' unions before seeing action.
The expanded system could cost as much as $40 million dollars. It would require high-speed cameras in every park, and a central office in New York, perhaps staffed by its own umpiring crew, to review calls from all around the majors, though the final decision would still be in the hands of the local crew.
Ball and strike calls, which lead to more arguments than any other sort of play, would still be sacrosanct.
It's not yet clear what would trigger a review, though to head off the possibility of every close call being replayed, it's a safe bet that some sort of challenge system would be utilized, with managers given a limited number of challenges per game.
It seems perfect, right? The best of all worlds. Borrow the command center from the NHL, the on-field review from the NBA, and the challenge system from the NFL. The only possible drawback is admittedly a major one—baseball games already take forever. Add a few breaks for reviews, and the average game could top the three-hour mark. That sounds miserable, sure, but not nearly as miserable as a sport getting calls wrong when it doesn't have to.