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The seven things you need to know about baseball’s proposed instant replay changes

Mike Oz
Big League Stew

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Bud Selig is calling Thursday a "historic day" for baseball — and it's all because of a new proposal to overhaul instant replay that was announced publicly after being introduced to ownership groups from all 30 teams earlier this week.

This is the first wave of a plan that would radically change the way MLB replay reviews are initiated. There's a ways to go before the plan is adopted, but if it is, baseball fans — like NFL fans — oughta get used to seeing "challenge flags" on the field.

The replay proposal was introduced Thursday by Selig, MLB vice president Joe Torre, advisor Tony La Russa and Atlanta Braves president John Schuerholz. Per the AP, Schuerholz said of the replay proposal:

"We believe this will be very impactful and very, very meaningful and useful for all sides. Managers will have a new tool that they'll have to learn how to use."

Meaningful? Useful? Impactful? This sounds important. You better get up to speed. Here are seven things you need to know right now about baseball's proposed replay changes.

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1. Get ready for challenge flags — or whatever baseball's versions of them would be. The most eye-opening proposed change here is that MLB managers would get "challenges," like we're used to seeing in the NFL. Managers would be permitted three challenges — one between the first and sixth innings, and two from the seventh inning on. If a manager wins a challenge, he could retain it. However, an unused challenge from the first part of the game wouldn't carry over to the second part.

2. Balls and strikes won't be reviewed. That's from Bob Nightengale of USA Today, who says MLB wants "instant replay on virtually every play but the strikezone." And with that, some people can continue to campaign for robot umpires.

3. MLB will have a central review center. MLB would put together a central office in New York for reviews, which would have access to all the cameras and be manned with experienced umpires. Final rulings would come New York, not the crew chief on site.

4. A lot of people still need to agree to this. Among the groups that Selig and his crew need to convince — ownership from all 30 MLB teams, the players union and the umpires union. A 75 percent vote by the owners is needed to approve the system, as well as a thumbs up from both unions.

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5. This would begin, MLB hopes, in 2014. Again, lots of people need to sign off on this, but if they do — at the next quarterly meeting in November — these changes would roll out for the 2014 season, then evaluated and revised (if needed) for 2015 and the future.

6. Things could still change. Since this is just a first proposal and a lot of people have to agree to it, things are surely going to be tinkered with. It seems like one of questions we're hearing a lot already is how umpires would initiate reviews outside of manager challenges. Current home run review rules would carry over, Schuerholz says.

7. Nobody is ever going to be 100% satisfied with replay and/or challenges. Just look at the NFL. In the case of MLB, most people think some kind of change is needed. But we'll have to wait and see how well "challenges" will be received. Purists are bound to hate it. People who want to speed up the game are bound to hate it. People who like to second-guessing managers might dig it, though. The best player response so far? That goes to Ian Desmond of the Washington Nationals.

WHAT DO YOU THINK: Would "manager challenges" make baseball better?

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