Major League Baseball has been reluctant to implement the latest advances in technology available to aid their umpires and improve the accuracy of their calls. The league doesn’t seem to mind the bad publicity generated by numerous high profile missed calls that have damaged the credibility of the game. The mantra of “human element” makes little sense when games are being adversely affected due mainly to stubbornness and Bud Selig’s continued backing of the MLB Umpires Union.

Well, things seem to be slowly changing which for baseball is a major development.

MLB announced last Friday that the league will be introducing two new instant replay systems to test the viability of reviewing fair/foul ball calls in future seasons. This the first time either of the technologies will be tested in MLB game conditions. The results, however, will not affect the game situations.

At least not yet.

While the new technologies won’t initially be utilized to reverse or confirm any calls, its installation in the two New York stadiums will enable MLB to experiment with the two systems in order to determine which one works better for the game as they move ahead to expand and integrate its use in the future.

The first system, which will be tested at Citi Field, home of the New York Mets, is the “Hawkeye” technology which is already actively used in tennis. The second technology is a radar-based system that will be installed at Yankee Stadium. This system is primarily used for tracking shots in golf telecasts.

Presumably, if the technology checks out well MLB will test both systems again in the Arizona Fall League in order to decide which one to implement for the 2013 season. Bud Selig has stated that there is no timetable for a decision about the use of the two systems during Major League games, but with the process starting at the end of the 2012 season it looks like changes are on the horizon.

It seems the league now is hoping to expand the utilization of technology for the aforementioned fair/foul calls. It can also be used for the tricky trapped ball calls in the outfield that are very difficult for umpires to call in real-time, often from a distance of 100 or more feet away from the play.

MLB appears to prefer one of these two precise technologies over the traditional video replay that is used most famously in the NFL. Even though some Red Sox- Yankee games average nearly four hours, the League seems concerned about the impact of replay timeouts on the overall game duration. The bottom line is that this type of technology is way overdue in a sport like baseball. Terms like “human nature” and promoting traditionalism should not be talking points if the technology for a more accurate game is available for implementation.

It seems the power players in MLB are more focused on protecting a small group of umpires than accurately calling the games of a multi-billion dollar industry. With so many playoff berths coming down to a game or two in the standings, these missed calls can mean major missed opportunities for teams and players.

ESPN’s Outside the Lines did an investigative report on umpiring and found that 20% of calls are inaccurate.

Many have called for expanded replay and it seems the Commissioner’s office is finally starting to do something about it.