Joe Torre was holding court in the Dodgers’ home dugout Tuesday afternoon in full uniform. In a way, it was like he never left — save the Team USA threads, the team of all-stars on the field, and the stakes of a World Baseball Classic exhibition game against the Chicago White Sox.
The range of topics he addressed with the media was befitting a man with one hand in Major League Baseball’s executive offices and another in the WBC. Torre is managing the United States entry in the international tournament, in uniform for the first time since he last managed the Dodgers in 2010. In the meantime, he’s worked out of MLB’s Manhattan offices as the league’s Executive Vice President, Business Operations, a job he briefly vacated to explore a purchase of the Dodgers.
One of the more interesting subjects Torre tackled — one that will affect all baseball players, coaches, umpires and fans in the near future — is instant replay.
“We’re going to increase replay next year,” Torre said, “but we don’t know how we’re going to go about it.”
Let the speculation begin.
Torre offered some vague but intriguing guidelines for how the league plans to expand replay, which is currently limited to determining home runs (whether a ball left the park fair or foul, whether it’s a home run or a live ball, and whether a fan interfered with the hit) and balls trapped under an outfielder’s glove. The expanded replay experiment will begin with new camera angles in spring training and World Baseball Classic games so the league can get a better idea of how useful cameras can be in replaying certain calls.
Balls and strikes will not be among them.
“You’ve got to have something to yell about,” Torre said.
Baseball was the last of the four major sports to use video replay at all, and has often been criticized for its unwillingness to integrate technology into its rulings. A reporter pointed out to Torre that a fan using his smart phone in the stands can often determine whether the correct call was made within seconds after the umpire makes it. Torre didn’t disagree.
“But do we want to get every single thing right? Is that our life?” he asked “Do we stumble up a step and down a step?If you have replay, there are things you’re not going to be able to tell.”