Instant Replay

Very shortly after the Armando Gallarage/Jim Joyce unperfect-game situation occurred, I settled on the instant-replay solution that is being more and more talked about, and it is simply this:
Give each manager one challenge flag, but one flag only, that he can use at any point in the game for anything other than a ball-and-strike call.
First, challenges will be rare. Unlike football, with its fumbles, trapped passes and out-of-bounds steps, baseball has very few close calls that require a second look.
Second, if the manager is limited to one challenge, he will not use it unless it is at a significant juncture, and he will want to save it for the end of the game, when a call may be decisive.
Third, it will not delay the game. The rules should require that a challenge flag may only be thrown from the dugout before the manager has left it. Thus, it will replace what would otherwise often be a lengthy argument that is a real game-delayer. Similarly, the rules should state that it is an automatic ejection if a manager leaves the dugout after throwing the flag.
Fourth, there need be no confusion, as there is in the NFL, over what calls can be challenged. Any call that a replay shows to be clearly erroneous may be reversed. Through experience, a smart manager will learn which those calls are.
Fifth, human error will remain in the game. Old-timers who say, we’ve always lived with bad calls, they’re a part of the game, need not feel deprived. If the umpires make 100 calls in a game, only two can be challenged, leaving 98 possible errors to live with, not even counting balls and strikes.
So much for the objections. What is the upside? Quite simply, there is less chance that a game will be decided on an obviously wrong call, thus serving the demands of competitive justice. For the umpire, there is less chance that his name will live in infamy, a la Don Denkinger or Jim Joyce. For the fan, there is one more chance to second-guess the manager: should he have used his challenge there or not?
Baseball changes, not always for the better – look at the DH, interleague play, etc. Adding one instant reply would be relatively modest. I am ready, in fact, for something more drastic: a laser-defined strike zone. Why put up with umpires’ wildly inconsistent strike zones? Why stand for your favorite hitter’s being called out on a pitch six inches off the plate? Why should Joe Mauer’s strike zone be accorded more weight than a rookie’s? Look at how tennis has adapted, and survived, with “hawkeye” replacing linespersons on the service line. The game of baseball would be just as good, with a lot less whining, if we heard a beep, or saw a light go on, whenever the pitch passed through the strike zone. I don’t think the umpires union is quite ready, however.