I am not a big proponent of the use of video replay for major league baseball. Here’s why.

Unlike other sports, baseball has always incorporated within its boundaries of judicial, on-the-field decisions human beings to make the final call.

Beginning last Thursday, disputed home runs and fair or foul balls may be reviewed by videotape that provides the best angle to determine the argued call.

This is all well and good, but the analysis clearly diminishes the importance of the key men on the field, the umpires.

I know just enough about this professional baseball stuff to realize that by taking a human call away from the men in blue, we are eliminating an age-old method to arbitrate the ins and the outs of the game.

According to MLB.com, the only time replay will be used is when the crew chief decides a better look is required.

Of course, baseball is abuzz with such a change in the proceedings. Opinions are varied, but I did get a kick out of Red Sox color man Jerry Remy Friday night when he offered this up for his NESN audience.

“Hey, if we’re going to have replay at this level, why not replay the most argumentative area of the game, balls and strikes?”

Longtime local baseball legend Dr. John Winkin once told me that the most inconsistent area of an umpire’s work is the calling of balls and strikes.

I’d say that I have to agree.

“The inconsistencies in the strike zone vary from umpire to umpire,” the likeable Winkin went on to say. “It is up to coaches and players to adjust to the discrepancies of each home plate ump, then be successful.”

Winkin also went on to say that as an NCAA regional baseball director — a position he held in the postseason for a number of years — he always cautioned umpires to strive for consistency to the rules in their efforts to be similar with their peers in their ball/strike calls.

Home runs and fair or foul balls will be another matter entirely.

Personally, I think that human error is all part of the umpiring game.

A few years ago, there was even some talk of a computerized strike zone, which would beep and light up when a pitched ball crossed the designated target.

Oh, my, I’m thinking. That’s all we need for a game that has survived all these years, in large part, because of the unique element of human intervention in its arbitration.

Some critics of the move to replay are comparing it to the introduction of the designated hitter in the 1970s in magnitude.

Los Angeles Angels skipper Mike Scioscia told a reporter last week that “there is no use for it [replay] beyond disputed home runs.”

Baseball commissioner Bud Selig has said that there will be no extension of the new rule beyond its current definition.

We’ll see.

I hate to see the game tinkered with further. Baseball wasn’t broken. Let’s not mess with the beauty and simplicity of this precious game.

30-Second Time Out

This old basketball coach couldn’t be happier with the announcement that we now have not one but two former basketball whiz kids involved in the upcoming presidential election.

First off, there was Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama, and now we have Republican vice-presidential nominee Sarah “Barracuda” — a nickname she picked up for her on-the-court ferocious play — Palin.

Hey, hoop aficionados, have you ever noticed the many connections between basketball and life? I have.