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Expanded replay nets first reversal and is tested with first double challenge

As Big League Stew noted on Wednesday, expanded replay got off to a pretty smooth start during Arizona Fall League play on Tuesday night. However, things got a little more complicated on Wednesday night thanks to a series of challenges that resulted in several firsts for the system.

Thankfully, MLB.com's Tom Singer was on hand to witness and sort out of all the activity. He posted the following play-by-play on Twitter.

The reversal came in the top of the first inning, so it didn't take long for history to be made. It took a little over a one minute for the call itself to be overturned, so the system has been very satisfying from that aspect. However, the novelty could get old awfully quickly.

Getting the call correct is the most important thing, but game flow and keeping the home viewer's attention isn't very far behind. Early returns there might not be as positive, but it's all in the testing phase right now. AFL managers have been given unlimited challenges to use this week and are encouraged to challenge as frequently as possible to iron these issues out. If the proposed system is implemented in MLB, managers would only get a single challenge for the first six innings and two for the final three innings

Still, it's a little scary to think two calls needed to be reversed in that short a time frame. At that rate, critical portions of regular season games could turn into replay fests pretty quickly if MLB ever went beyond the three challenge limit.

That's one aspect of the system that was under the microscope on Wednesday. Here's another wrinkle. This scenario played out later in the same game.

It's unclear whether that's under the umbrella of one challenge or amounts to two challenges. Either way, it extends the delay a little longer. That's not a disaster given the early pace in rendering decisions, but it's also not ideal. If there's one aspect that immediately needs a tweak, that has to be it. Only one phase of a play should be challengeable, and it should be up to the manager to determine which phase he wants to challenge.

That's a pretty minor gripe though considering the system is brand new. There may never be a way to make it perfect or satisfactory to everybody, but it's probably smoother than most of us imagined it would be at this point. As long as MLB doesn't veer too far off course between now and April, the system itself should work just fine. How managers manage their challenges could be a different story.

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Mark Townsend is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at bigleaguestew@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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