With instant replay talks looming, umpires clamor for inclusion

NEW YORK -- With baseball general managers set to discuss
instant replay next week, the new league negotiator for major
league umpires wants his members included in any talks.

Baseball has resisted replays to help decide calls, but several
GMs would like to see it adopted to determine whether home runs
stayed fair or went foul, and whether balls at the tops of fences
went over.

"It would create a big change in our working conditions,"
Lamell McMorris said Friday. "It would require a lot of training.
Naturally we're open to discussions with Major League Baseball
about this, but it is an issue pivotal enough that it would
probably have to be addressed in our next collective bargaining
agreement. What is important to us in regard to this issue is that the
commissioner's office involves us in the decision."

Baseball commissioner Bud Selig has been against replays but
said during the postseason he is willing to let GMs debate the
matter. If GMs recommend replays be used, baseball would have to
decide whether umpires or some other group would run the equipment.

"There are a host of issues, from the standardization of
everything regarding instant replay," McMorris said. "You talk
about the equipment, you talk about its usage. We think there
should be some analysis of how it has affected officiating in other
major sports that use it."

Toronto general manager J.P. Ricciardi was on a subcommittee
that discussed replays at last year's meetings and backs limited

"What happens on a play that ends an inning and everybody runs
off the field? Where do you put guys back? At what spot do you
count someone's run?" he said. "What I would be in favor of is
just getting the home run calls on the fairs and fouls right. That
would be a start. So many times you can't tell if the ball hit the
top of the wall or went over. You can't tell if the ball went
inside the foul pole or outside the foul pole. That's a small