Major League Baseball is attempting to institute instant replay on home-run calls before the end of this season, according to two sources familiar with those discussions. However, in order to accomplish that, MLB still needs to settle on a replay system that would satisfy everyone involved, from the umpires to commissioner Bud Selig.
USA Today reported Friday on its Web site that MLB had approached the World Umpires Association about implementing replay on Aug. 1. However, it appears that's merely a tentative target date. While it's possible a system could be in place that soon, some baseball officials merely want to get some form of replay system up and running before this year's postseason.
As recently as a few weeks ago, baseball officials were still talking about experimenting with replay during the Arizona Fall League, the World Baseball Classic and spring training before implementing it in the big leagues. But so many people within the sport have reached the conclusion that replay is now inevitable, they're pushing to get it in place as soon as possible.
Their thinking, according to the same sources, is that if there no longer is any serious opposition to the principle of using replay to decide home-run calls, it would be embarrassing to the sport to have a big game down the stretch, or in October, decided by a blown home-run call. They're hoping to settle on specifics that would be acceptable to Selig, the umpires' union and the players' union.
However, a source told ESPN.com he believes the umpires are in favor of replay as long as it's done in a way that protects and supports them. And while Selig still hasn't given the go-ahead, it's believed he would support a system that would preserve the character of the sport and not delay games significantly.