Crowd seemed to sway the umps

BOSTON -- For years, showing instant replay of a controversial calls on the big screen in major league ballparks has been verboten, with the theory being that a wrong decision by an umpire might spur fan wrath that could spill onto the field.

Someone sitting at home watching television has had a better understanding of what had just happened than the folks who had paid premium seat prices to go to the ballpark, because of access to replay.

By rule, teams were not allowed to have television monitors in their dugouts to give them an immediate look at the instant replay, and this is why players, managers and coaches would go sprinting into their respective clubhouses to watch the television feed. When you watch NFL games, you often see coaches and players staring up at the big screen after a contested call to get a look at it, and reacting, along with the crowd. For many years, this has not been the case in Major League Baseball, because teams are told they can only show the replays in the concourses and in the private suites.