MLB replay system clearly needs some work 

click to enlarge Matt Cain
  • Rick Scuteri/AP
  • Matt Cain appeared to tag out the Diamondbacks’ A.J. Pollock in Tuesday’s game, but the Giants had already used up their replay challenge and Pollock was ruled safe.
Major League Baseball typically trails the rest of the pro sports world when it comes to logical, technological and societal advancement, but the good old boys at MLB do usually come around eventually, and the expanded use of instant replay is finally here.

That’s a good thing. But as Tuesday night’s Giants game in Arizona illustrated, there’s much work — i.e., refinement — to be done. The challenge process needs serious work.

Now, it has to be noted that the Giants’ challenge was ill-advised. Duh. It’s why they lost it. But you could make a case that they lost the game itself because of that lost challenge, which prevented them from challenging a far more significant and far more conclusive-by-replay play — Matt Cain’s tag at the plate after a wild pitch — about 30 seconds later.

The point of replay is to use the technology available to, whenever possible, get the call right. Otherwise, why even open the can? But a bad call stood because MLB’s good old boys came up with a bad new system.

How about this: Make any questionable scoring play reviewable without a challenge. Granted, that would require umpires to police themselves and their egos, and that’s no small challenge.

It’s better than the challenge system, though. That’s just plain dumb.

While we’re ranting about new systems, kudos to MLB for ramping up its drug testing. Like replay, it’s not perfect, but it’s a step in the right direction.

The next step should be to ditch any provision that includes a reference to the playoffs, and you do that by making the suspension for a first offense an entire season. Second offense, lifetime ban.

Otherwise, the idea of a guy getting busted for doping during the spring, sitting out for 80 games, then playing 82 games, then having to sit down again? Seems kind of silly.

At the very least, the rule should be this: If you’re eligible to play the entire post-All-Star break portion of the season, you’re eligible for the playoffs. Any argument against that gets greeted with a slap across the bare right buttock with a very large haddock.

Why? Because haddocks are cool-looking fish, and writing that last sentence was fun. Sports are supposed to be fun, remember?

Barring all of the above, here’s another idea: Lifetime ban for the first offense. The point is to create and effective deterrent, right? That feels about right from here.

And finally, speaking of sports and fun ...: Any pregame, halftime or postgame show that includes Charles Barkley and Kenny Smith is a blast, no questions asked. Hell, revive “Cagney & Lacey” and make them the stars of that show, too.

It’s called “it,” and they have it.

What made it official came last weekend, when as part of the CBS college men’s basketball crew, they got the fairly stoic, borderline-robotic Clark Kellogg absolutely rollin’. Dude was having the time of his life and didn’t care that anyone knew.

What makes Chuck and the Jet so appealing is that their self-comfort — the kind of easy, loose confidence that few are so fortunate to have — is clearly infectious. They make everyone around them smile, lighten up.

Then again, we haven’t seen them with Mr. Selig just yet. Mission: Impossible.

Mychael Urban, a longtime Bay Area-based sportswriter and broadcaster, is the host of “Inside the Bigs,” which airs every Saturday morning from 9 a.m. to noon on KGMZ “The Game” (95.7 FM).

About The Author

Mychael Urban

Mychael Urban

Mychael Urban has been covering Bay Area sports for 25 years and has worked for, Comcast SportsNet Bay Area and KNBR (680 AM).
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