MLB Expands Instant Replay to Let Managers Challenge Calls

On Thursday, Major League Baseball formally approved the use of instant replay for the 2014 season. Under the new system, managers will have one challenge they can use. If their challenge is successful, managers will be able to retain that challenge and use it one more time during the game for a maximum of two challenges per game.

After the start of the seventh inning, the crew chief of the game may choose to use instant replay on any reviewable call even if a manager is out of challenges, according to Major League Baseball's announcement:

Managers will have at least one challenge to use.  If any portion of a challenged play is overturned, then the manager who challenged the play will retain the ability to challenge one more play during the game.  No manager may challenge more than two plays in a game.  Once the manager has exhausted his ability to challenge plays during the game and after the beginning of the seventh inning, the Crew Chief may choose to invoke instant replay on any reviewable call.  

Home run and other boundary calls will remain reviewable under the procedures in place last season. A designated communication location near home plate will be established at all 30 MLB ballparks. There, the Crew Chief and at least one other Major League Umpire will have access to a hard-wired headset connected to the Replay Command Center, which will remain at MLB Advanced Media headquarters in New York.  Major League Umpires will be staffed as Replay Officials at the Replay Command Center.  After viewing video feeds, the Replay Official will make the ultimate determination of whether to overturn the call, based on the continuing standard of whether there is clear and convincing evidence.

Here are the plays that can be reviewed:

Home run

Ground rule double

Fan interference

Stadium boundary calls (e.g., fielder into stands, ball into stands triggering dead ball)

Force play (except the fielder's touching of second base on a double play)

Tag play (including steals and pickoffs)

Fair/foul in outfield only

Trap play in outfield only

Batter hit by pitch

Timing play (whether a runner scores before a third out)

Touching a base (requires appeal)

Passing runners

Record keeping (Ball-strike count to a batter, outs, score, and substitutions)

All other plays will not be reviewable; however, the Umpires may still convene on the field at any time to discuss the play.

According to MLB, all 30 teams unanimously approved the expansion of instant replay and both the Major League Baseball Players Association and the World Umpires Association approved as well. 


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