Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports reports that Major League Baseball owners have approved expansion of video replay review that includes allowing two challenges per game by managers for any play they wish. There had been talk of allowing three challenges per game with an innings component — one challenge for the first three innings and two thereafter, for example — but that has been dismissed after a replay expansion trial at the Arizona Fall League. There, 12 of the 15 challenged plays were upheld after review.
Instead, for major league games in 2014, it will be two challenges and that's it — though more tweaking might happen after more trials happen at spring training next season.
It's easy to have reservations about this: What if the challenges have been exhausted and a disputed home run happens in the 10th inning? Is there no reviewing it? Apparently not. And what about, say, an 18-inning game? Answers for these questions have not been made available yet.
In recent years, replay review was limited to any disputed home run — and only if umpires had any doubt. Usually, after a manager came out to question, umpires would disappear under the ballpark to a room with a TV where they watched replays until making a conclusion. The new system is supposed to involve at least one umpire on the field talking via headset to other officials in a control room, either in a broadcast truck on the grounds of the ballpark or at a studio in New York at MLB headquarters.
For the changes to be enacted, unions for the umpires and players also must approve, and both are expected to comply, Rosenthal reports. The ball got rolling for replay expansion once commissioner Bud Selig got up to speed with what players and fans wanted:
Selig on replay: "My father told me life is nothing but a series of adjustments. I made an adjustment."
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) November 14, 2013
Other than getting more calls right, potentially, Rosenthal reports that more close calls will be replayed in JumboTron TVs inside ballparks. MLB had put a limit on what stadiums could show, so as not to embarrass the umpires.
Editor's note: An earlier version of this post said that 12 of 15 calls were overturned, but that is just nonsense.
- - - - - - -