WASHINGTON -- Nationals general manager Jim Bowden, manager Manny Acta and infielder Aaron Boone were pleased that limited instant replay will be instituted starting Thursday. Instant replay at Nationals Park will start Friday.
Instant replay will apply only to home run calls -- whether they are fair or foul, whether they have left the playing field, or whether they have been subject to fan interference. The decision to use instant replay will be made by the umpire crew chief, who also will make the determination as to whether or not a call should be reversed.
Bowden has been one of the leading advocates in implementing instant replay and feels the human error will be less of a factor in playoff games. Bowden first talked about replay in 1993 when he was the GM of the Reds, but the rest of the general managers at that time voted it down.
"I think Major league Baseball, the umpires and the Players Association have done a tremendous job of putting together a good plan to make it work and be successful," Bowden said. "If there is a call made wrong because of human error, we have a chance to correct it and not have a team lose a very important playoff game because of it."
While they like limited instant replay, Acta and Boone still want the human element to be involved during the games.
"I think they made the right decision when it comes to home runs -- foul or fair. The new dimensions and the way stadiums are built, it makes it very tough on the umpires," Acta said. "The good part is, they are not taking the human element away. I like it. The human element has been around for 100 years and you just can't take it away. Maybe in 100 years, you may have a machine calling balls and strikes, but I don't want to see that."
Said Boone, "It's all right as long as it's on a limited basis. Whether it's fair or foul, you might as well get that right. I hope 30 to 50 years from now, it doesn't lead to everything being replayed. I wouldn't want that."
Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.