Did instant replay kill the art of the manager argument?

Jason O. Watson

No one has been ejected so far in 2014. Is replay to credit/blame?

As of April 6, there hasn't been a single ejection in baseball this year. Replay, you horrible fiend, what have you done?

It's an unquestionably good thing that replay exists, for the most part. I'm not sure if a win or a loss has been reassigned to its rightful owner yet, but it will happen. There will eventually be a playoff team that would otherwise be home, if not for replay. That argument trumps all.

But, dammit, keep your hands off my ejections and arguments. There's something so pure about a middle-aged man wearing a uniform running out to argue a call and saying enough naughty words to get ejected. It's something unique to baseball, something that makes it so awesome. Imagine play stopping as Phil Jackson, dressed in a jersey and shorts, runs out in middle of the court to argue. Or picture Jim Harbaugh in pads and a helmet, running full speed across the field to get to a referee. It seems ridiculous in those sports, but in baseball it's part of the theater. And it's good theater.

Now, because of replay, it's dead. It's all dead. You know what you get now? You get managers ambling out into the middle of the field to stall for time. They lope around, waiting to get a thumbs up/down from their bench coach. They ask the umpires about their families. There is almost no yelling.

Thank you for saving baseball, instant replay. Now apologize for killing baseball, instant replay.

Except, maybe this isn't quite right. Maybe we're overstating just how many arguments and ejections we've lost. With help from the database at Close Call Sports, let's look at all of the ejections from 2013, and see how many wouldn't have happened if replay were in place.

Well, I'll be. It's not going to make that much of a difference at all. There were 180 ejections last year, and 48 of them happened after arguments started by calls that would have been reviewed this season. And it isn't just managers who were getting tossed because of currently reviewable players, either:

Why are manager and players getting tossed?

Good ol' balls and strikes. You can't review them, and you can't argue them. And sometimes, they're just the worst.

Still makes me mad, and I don't even believe the World Baseball Classic was a real thing. That's Angel Hernandez being regular-awful, by the way. His more-awful-than-normal moment was when he didn't make the right call after watching it on replay.

So if you're an argument lover, don't despair!  There will still be arguments. There will still be angry managers. There will still be ejections. There will be fewer of the above, but the difference isn't going to be as drastic as you think.

And it took all those words to get here and think, "Wait a minute. I actually hate arguments 99 percent of the time. They're boring, and they slow the game down." They're usually so silly, and no one tosses a water cooler or bat rack or anything. So thanks, instant replay. I guess that's another argument in your favor.

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