What you get when a sportswriter does not attend umpire school.
Well, some of his suggestions have merit.
He really offers nothing new with The Phil Cuzzi Rule. Many others have screamed for expanded IR, a replay umpire, etc., and Joe Torre has said MLB is looking into expanding IR. If there really is going to be reviews of fair/foul on the lines, I don't see a real need for MLB to spend money on a Hawkeye-like system. With multiple cameras catching different angles of a ball's location with respect to the line, all in crystal-clear high definition, that would suffice.
The Barry Bonds Rule is unnecessary. If the batter doesn't move and allows the pitch to hit him in a protected area, 6.09(b) already covers that. And why penalize a batter for getting hit in an elbow pad if he attempted to avoid the pitch, but it caught the pad anyway?
I actually like the J.C. Martin Rule. I've often wondered why batter-runners are liable for interfering while running to first base on a bunt, but scoring runners on a ground ball hit to third or a fly ball hit to left can veer well into fair territory with no concern for interference. Heck, the way the rule is written, the BR can hinder a throw from first to home by staying in fair territory, but not from home to first. Either lose the runner's lane, or modify the rules to require the BR to stay in foul territory to avoid hindering that first-to-home throw, as well as to require scoring runners to stay in foul territory to avoid hindering throws coming from the left side of the field.
I have no problem with the Jorge Posada Rule either. Sure, the PU could just not grant the catcher Time when requested repeatedly, but why go there? Just limit those time outs, not only for catchers, but for any defensive breaks to discuss base coverages, etc.
No way would I support The Johnny Damon Rule. How can you fault a batter for interference when he has no control of where a piece of his bat goes? That's just absurd. Fielders have to deal with bad bounces, wind, sun, etc. Flying debris is just another hazard that can't occur with intent.
I'm all for the Sam Holbrook Rule, although I wouldn't use the controversial IFF call as a clear reason why outfield umpires are totally unnecessary. I would add the missed Foul call by Angel Hernandez that was corrected by Tim McClelland as another example. And if IR is truly going to be expanded to cover Fair/Foul down the lines and catch/no catch in the outfield, what the heck are those umpires going to do? All of their responsibilities--HR or not, Spectator Interference, Fair/Foul, and Catch/No Catch--would all be subject to review. So they would lose all the value they supposedly add.
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