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You have probably already heard about Bud Selig’s latest attempt to ruin baseball, once and for all. Selig and his cronies are close to implementing a replay system in 2014 that resembles the one used in the NFL, complete with coaches having the power to challenge calls on the field. No word yet on whether MLB managers will be throwing red bean bags on to the field in order to initiate a challenge, but let’s keep our fingers crossed. After all, who will be the Jason Garrett of throwing MLB challenge flags?

If you want to read about how much slower baseball will become next year, you can do that elsewhere. Instead of discussing the painful new reality that is MLB replay, we here at the Clown Show are ready to propose our own replay system, complete with umpires who matter and managers who are really upset. Without further ado:


Umpires will call ’em as they see ’em. From balls and strikes to close plays at the plate, umpires will call ’em as they see ’em. If an umpire calls one as he sees it and a player or manager happens to disagree, they will have the power to “challenge” this call by emerging from the dugout and screaming until their faces explode or their lungs begin to malfunction — whichever happens first. Of course, they will be doing this at the risk of getting ejected from the game. If their head does, in fact, explode, they will probably have a good chance of already having been ejected, or will be ejected shortly thereafter. If their lungs do give way, that will solve a lot of problems for the umpire, but an ejection might still be in order. Indeed, an umpire could eject a player, manager, or bat boy for looking at him wrong.

Instant video replay does have a groundbreaking role in all of this. During, or perhaps after, the player or manager is dismantling the umpires’ ears, viewers at home will be treated to instant replays of the play in question. We will get to see said play in slow motion, from different angles, all the while bitching and moaning about just how bad umpires are (despite the fact that we ought to know by now that they are actually quite good).

If, however, a dubious call greatly effects the outcome of a game, instant video replay will become a more vital tool in many respects:

1. Talking heads on ESPN will have instant video replay to accompany their inspired rants about how a dubious call greatly effected the outcome of a game. Again, we will be able to see various angles and speeds of the play in question to inform us as to whether the the umpire got the call right or wrong (but let’s be honest, why would they be showing the replay again and again if the umpire got the call right?).

2. Players and managers will be able to see these replays in the clubhouse both before and after running onto the field, where their heads will explode or their lungs will cease to work properly. It will no doubt influence the voracity with which they argue with the umpire or complain about the call to the media after the game has ended. In fact, if they see that the umpire got the call right — granted, this is an unlikely scenario — they might not come running on to the field at all.

3. Umpires will also be able to review the same replays, in order to inform future calls, similar in nature. Or they can utilize replay to aid them in doing something that we all struggle mightily at in our everyday lives: admitting that they made a mistake. They can even cry about it, and issue a national apology the next morning.

In ten years I don’t have a chance at remembering Phil Humber’s name, but Armando Galarraga’s is a name that will live on in my memory bank until my memory bank no longer accepts withdrawals.

This brings us the most important aspect of The Clown Show’s replay proposal: there won’t be any do-overs, taking back calls, or other bullshit that greatly decreases the best part of baseball, the human element that makes the sport so relatable.

If the umps feel like they want to review a would-be-home-run or two, that’s cool. If sports bloggers want to bitch about the injustices of a non-replay system, they may do so before returning to watching basketball refs huddle over monitors for several minutes at a time, accompanied by basketball announcers declaring, “this is a situation where you just want to see them get the call right,” as though an outstanding display of ethical coding is what keeps the sporting world from disintegrating into thin air.

This is baseball, where umpires are so much a part of the game that fans know their names and umpiring stylesIf I asked you who the most universally despised umpire is, you would say Angel Hernandez. If I asked you which umpire is the slowest to call a ball or strike, you would say Tim McClelland. If I asked you who made the call that took away Galarraga’s perfect game and then issued that tearful apology, even before you revisited the video I am confident you would know that it was Jim Joyce.

Then, again, maybe you’re not a baseball fan.