Owners unanimously approve expanded instant replay for 2014


As the GM Meetings wrapped up today, Bud Selig confirmed MLB’s owners unanimously approved expanded instant replay for the 2014 season. Both the players’ and umpires’ unions must sign off on the plan before it can be implemented, but that is expected to happen. “There isn’t one play or one instance that changed my mind. It has just happened over time. I know we’re doing the right thing,” said the commissioner.

Under the new system, each manager will be given two challenges to use at any point in the game. Managers were expected to be given three challenges under an earlier proposal, but they could only use one in the first six innings. I’m glad they changed that. Challenges are lost only if the play is not overturned — the play is reviewed off-site and the ruling is relayed to the umpiring crew — and if the challenge is successful, the manager retains it for use later in the game. Balls and strikes can not be challenged (duh) and homerun calls will still be handled by the umpires, as has been the case since 2008.

MLB tested the new system during Arizona Fall League play last week — managers were given an unlimited number of challenges and were encouraged to use them so they could work out any bugs — and things went fine. The games themselves were painfully slow because of all the replays, but that won’t be an issue next year as long as each manager is limited to two challenges. The challenges and replays themselves were quick and easy, usually taking less than a minute. It’s not a perfect system, but it’s definitely an improvement. Hooray.

Categories : Asides, News
  • Tom

    I’m curious how they will handle the neighborhood play at 2nd and how they will handle a play that is reversed where live action should have continued (like a ball called foul and it is actually fair)

    • sangreal

      Well the neighborhood play is BS but managers almost never argue it so I’d be surprised to see them challenge it. As for the other part, that’s already an issue — foul balls were reviewed last year, as were home runs being overturned. I don’t remember the answer off hand as far as how they place all the baserunners though

      • jjyank

        I would imagine they’d handle it similar to the way they handle ground rule doubles. If a runner is on first, and a hit that was ruled foul is overturned to a single, the lead runner goes to second, since you can’t assume he’d make it to third.

        I’m sure there will be some outcry, like if Gardner hits a ball down the line foul, but gets overturned fair, and it’s ruled a single. In all likelihood, Gardner’s speed makes it a double. So it won’t be perfect, but I can’t complain about progress. I’m just glad they’re doing something about replay now.

        • Tom

          How about a grounder deep to 3rd base, or even 1st, that is called foul? (and is then overturned)

          If the fielder stops (because it is called foul) do you just assume the throw? Do you make a judgement on speed of the runner? quality of the fielder? Do the pitch over?

          I’m also wondering if they make judgement calls or have one strict policy for men on base… say Gardner hits that ball down the line with a man on 2nd. Does he get to score? Does it matter if it is Tex or Ichiro on 2nd?

          I like the expanded replay but I hope they ironed out some of these nuances in the AFL.

          • jjyank

            I honestly don’t know all the answers.

            I have to imagine that judgement calls based on perceived speed or defense of a player is not taken into consideration, just like it’s not on a ground rule double.

            I also have some faith that after some testing, and a unanimous vote, the system is pretty workable. We’ll find out soon enough. Questions aside, it’s great that they’re making strides to improve the game.

            • Tom

              Sorry – wasn’t meant that way (wasn’t trying to beat an answer out of you!)

              I do agree though – I think it has to be mostly automatic and you don’t distinguish between Miguel Cabrera or Manny Machado fielding a ball or speed of runners.

      • Caballo Sin Nombre

        But, managers WILL argue the “neighborhood play” with this rule, because it will HAVE to be overturned. Prior to instant replay, there was no chance of it being overturned.

        • dkidd

          this is the big one, imo

          i expect a ton of double plays erased before middle infielders start adjusting

          • Caballo Sin Nombre

            Exactly. And possibly even making speed on the base paths worth a bit more, relative to today.

  • Darren

    Man, 2009 could have been a lot different if Melky’s double was overturned.

    I wonder if that homerun Mondesi hit that glanced off the foul pole but was called a foul would have been overturned.

  • TWTR

    Robot umpires should be the next frontier.

    • Havok9120

      Meh. I’m just fine with trying this before we start demanding more. Further proposals should be shaped by how this works out.

      Also: umpire’s union.

  • Damix

    I hate how slow the MLB and sports in general adopt new things. This is a step in the right direction but it would have been quite easy to have all plays automatically reviewed offsite and have the umpires notified if they play needs further review.

    • Havok9120

      A lot of people still enjoy parts of the human element.

      You don’t have to consider those people, but baseball does. Their fandom counts just as much as yours to MLB.

      • Fin

        That “human element” always seemed like bs talking point to me by MLB. I know its a small sample size, but I don’t know any baseball fans who don’t want replay, nor do I know anyone who doesn’t like in other sports. Sure, we may all think it can be done better than it is, but everyone I know feels its a lot better than allowing bad calls to determine the outcome of games, or at least limit their impact. Its just my opinion, but I think there is a very small fan base who enjoys “the human element” of the game and whos fandom would be negatively affected by instant replay, if any at all.

        • Fin

          I cant wait until we get to the point where a computer calls balls and strikes as I think this is the worst part of officiating in any sport. How can the most important part of the game, change day to day?

  • dkidd

    what about managers using challenges to stall/give a reliever more warm-up time?

  • Newman

    Every single time I hear the name Bud Selig I cringe. I’m convinced every decision he makes will hurt the game. And every word that comes out of his mouth is a lie.