I am a big fan of new technology, and I love when we get instant replay on broadcasts that show if the umpires got the call wrong or right. But to actually decide calls using technology? I could not be more against it.
First off, I'm not convinced it's inevitable. Maybe it is. We've seen football rely way too heavily on replay, and basketball uses somewhat regularly now. Hockey has a war room in Toronto that reviews every goal, though it's kind of rare when a goal is questionable enough to really affect the flow of the game. But, does that make expanded, football-style replay a given in baseball? I'm not as convinced. It seems to me that by writing their arguments in the style of "it's going to happen one way or the other," they want people to pick up on that feeling and go ahead and relent. It's much more strategy than actual fact.
Are fans really clamoring for instant replay? I honestly don't think so. Maybe it has to do with the company I keep, but it seems to me the only real proponents of expanded instant replay are talking heads on TV and writers on the internet. And, more specifically, writers and talking heads on ESPN. I don't really see too much on instant replay at Sports Illustrated or MLB's own network. TBS and local broadcasts don't seem too concerned with instant replay. That sort of coverage gives the impression that ESPN has some sort of rooted interest in getting replay into baseball. I don't know if that's actually the case, but if it really were that contentious of an issue, you would think you would see more widespread calls in sports media.
Now, as for actual arguments against instant replay, I do think it would slow the game down. In a game that many people already complain about being slow, we really don't need any more elements to stretch out the game. I suppose everybody has a different level of tolerance for slowing the game, but if you ask me, the constant reviews in football really makes the game drag on. Add the TV timeouts to the equation, and, well, there are some pretty big points in favor of small college football. Most of the talent with none of the wasted time. If you took football's model and put it to baseball, games might well stretch on for another hour, especially during playoff games. Playoff games already take way too long. I don't want anything else stretching that out, thank you.
Another issue here: the umpires are overwhelming right. Not perfect, but usually right. And when they are wrong, it's usually with an extremely close call that could well have gone either way. Think about the worst, obviously blown calls in history. I can really only think of two. Don Derkinger probably costing the Cardinals a World Series* and Jim Joyce blowing a perfect game for Armando Galarraga and the Tigers. Two horribly blown calls in 136 years.** That's a pretty good record. And for those calls that are so close, you want some sort of unbiased arbitrator to decide how it's going to go down. Oh, wait, we have that. It's called the umpires.
*Though, let's be honest, Kansas City needed it more anyway.
**I only knew this because yesterday marked the Cubs 136th birthday, and I knew the Cubs (White Stockings, at the time) were a charter member of the National League, which is older than the American League. Or the short-lived Federal League, for that matter. For whatever it's worth, the Cubs won the league that year.
In a stance that also might surprise some people, I think most people forget that sports are entertainment. It's a game, and it should be treated as such. Now, I can sometimes forget that myself. I let outcomes really affect my mood and can really put me into a depression for a little while. The worst was the 2003 NLCS. You can probably take a gander at why. Would replay have determined that Bartman constituted fan interference? Very possibly. But, you know what? That's just part of the game. Bad calls suck at the time, but in the long run, they add to the lore, add to the fun. Think about life. There are a lot of things that were so frustrating and so life-or-death at the time that are laughing matters now. That's a bad call in baseball. Don't take that part out of the game.
Baseball is a game of soul. Look at all the movies made about baseball, the romanticism and history and spirit of the game that comes through in 90% of those films. About the only movie that doesn't really have that is Major League, and it's also probably the silliest baseball movie ever. Now look at football movies. Those things exist in football movies, but they are almost without fail based on college or high school football. Professional football is rather soulless and doesn't have a strong sense of it's history. And, honestly, I think it's because of how it takes itself so seriously and takes the time to really use instant replay in a very strong way. It takes away that human element and makes it harder to relate to. It might as well be a video game. Maybe that's why Madden does so well.
Take the computers and cameras out of the game. Keep them on the broadcasts, by all means, but they have no place in our games. Leave that for the No Fun League.