There was that initial belief that Masahiro Tanaka might not be posted after all, then I had to head into the city for the Joe Torre charity event, and somewhere in those busy hours of yesterday afternoon, this bit of news kind of slipped through the cracks here on the blog. The replay changes are going to be interesting, the kind of thing we kind of have to see to really figure out how it’s going to work. Here are the details.
ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — Another baseball tradition is about to largely disappear: a manager, with a crazed look in his eyes, charging the field and getting into a face-to-face shouting match with an umpire.
Instead, most calls on the field next season will be subject to video review by umpires in New York,
Major League Baseball took the first vote in a two-step process Thursday, unanimously approving funding for expanded instant replay in 2014. They plan to approve the new rules when they meet Jan. 16 in Paradise Valley, Ariz., after agreements with the unions for umpires and players.
“We made a gigantic move today,” Commissioner Bud Selig said. “This is quite historic.”
Selig long opposed replay and watched from afar as it was first used by the NFL in 1986, the NHL in 1991, the NBA in 2002 and Wimbledon in 2006. Even the Little League World Series put replay in place for 2008. MLB allowed it starting August 2008 but in a limited manner: to determine whether potential home runs were fair or cleared fences.
“Tag plays, out/safe at first, fair/foul past the bags, those are all going to be included,” said Rob Manfred, MLB’s chief operating officer.
Manfred said when a manager wants to challenge a call, he will notify an umpire, triggering a review in New York by what are likely to be present or retired big league umps. A headset would be brought to the crew chief, who would be notified of the decision.
There will be a maximum of two challenges per manager in each game — “it could be less,” Manfred said — and if the challenge is upheld it would not be counted against the manager’s limit. If a manager is out of challenges, umpires probably will be allowed request a review on their own.
Manfred appeared to indicate that the video being reviewed in New York could be shown to fans in stadiums or possibly on television broadcasts.
“I think you can expect that there will be as part of this package expanded use of in-stadium video boards,” he said.
Selig has emphasized that he doesn’t want replay to slow games, whose increased length in recent decades has been targeted for criticism.
“The current thinking is that if a manager comes out and argues, once he argues, he can’t challenge that play,” Manfred said. “One way to control the timing of challenges is to use the natural flow of the game, that is the next pitch cuts off your right to challenge.”
But MLB doesn’t want managers to tell players to stall to give team employees time to review video on their own and instruct the dugout whether to use a challenge.
In tests last week at the Arizona Fall League, most reviews averaged 1 minute, 40 seconds.
Former manager Tony La Russa, now an MLB special adviser, said managers will have to “rely on their integrity” and not cause delays.
Manfred said the initial rules likely won’t be the final ones.
“The system will see some continuing evolution until we get to a point of stability, similar to what you saw in the NFL,” he said.
A few basics of the new replay rules
• Each manager will have a maximum two challenges per game.
• If a challenge is upheld, it won’t count against a manager’s limit.
• If a manager wants to challenge a call, he notifies an umpire before the next pitch.
• A manager cannot call for a challenge after he argues a play.
• Video will be reviewed in New York, likely by current or former major league umpires.
• If a manager is out of challenges, an umpire probably will be allowed to call for a review if he wants to.
• Ball/strike calls, checked swings and some foul tip calls may not be reviewed.
Associated Press photos