Yahoo’s Jeff Passan wrote a 1,500-word epic article Friday on the need for replay review, featuring various blown calls and blowups involving umpires Laz Diaz and Mark Wegner this week.
There was also this nugget which could go a long way toward explaining why Bud Selig has dragged his feet so long on this issue:
Much of Selig’s reticence has to do with his romantic attachment to old-time baseball – which, you know, didn’t have one wild card (or two), an All-Star game that “counted” and interleague play. There’s the financial factor, too. A football source said the NFL spends about $4 million a year on instant replay. With almost 10 times as many games, new equipment and a fifth umpire with each crew to monitor the replay booth, MLB’s annual costs could go well into eight figures.
Of course, a fifth umpire with each crew isn’t what the latest proposals call for; it’s review at a central location, possibly even using equipment already in place at MLB Network. TV channels already pay for covering the games — that wouldn’t cost MLB anything.
In a $3-billion industry, Selig’s worried about $4 million, or even $10 million? The first figure barely buys a middle reliever these days.