Thursday, January 16, 2014

Player, Umpire Unions Approve Expanded Instant Replay

Expanded instant replay is now approved for the 2014 MLB season and will take effect this spring following a Thursday decision to move forward with the technology by both the Major League Baseball Players Association and the World Umpires Association.

The AFL instant replay experiment.
Just one day after instant replay committee chairman John Scheurholz mulled the "complexities" inherent with expanding the use of video review in baseball, MLBPA and the WUA both gave their respective okays to the proposal, prompting Commissioner Bud Selig to declare: "This is really big...I'm proud of the changes we've made."

Since modern instant replay expansion was first proposed in August of 2013, the pure logistics of the system have changed. The terms approved by both MLBPA and WUA for use in 2014 are as follows:

Managers' Challenge - One per Game
> Each field manager will receive one challenge per game. If successful, the manager retains his challenge for potential use on another eligible play.* If unsuccessful, he loses his ability to challenge. Scheurholz reasoned that one challenge per game is "far more than enough based on the statistics we have." According to data and UEFL analysis, umpires miss approximately one close call for every five big league games played. Joe Torre added that pace of game concerns made the one challenge rule a no-brainer. As such, managers will be obliged to initiate challenges in a "timely manner."
> Managers that argue a call will be asked whether they wish to challenge. If the immediate answer is no, the play is disqualified from reviewable status and cannot be reviewed (unless the opposing team challenges it).

Challenges Exhausted and Umpires' Ability to Initiate Instant Replay Review in Innings 7+
> If a manager runs out of challenge(s) prior to the seventh inning, umpires will be unable to initiate a review on their own volition prior to inning 7.** After the 7th inning begins, the crew chief is empowered to institute an instant replay review.

Replay Command Center at MLBAM Headquarters in New York - Staffed by MLB Umpires
> All reviews will be conducted via MLB HQ in NY by active Major League umpires who will rotate through MLB Command just as they work games. As such, MLB will hire two additional four-man umpiring crews. We've already seen MLB hire 7 umpires to the full-time staff in anticipation of the replay expansion.
> The two crews are necessary because replay officials will work a set of six-hour shifts; the second crew accounts for both the early East Coast/Central day game and the late West Coast evening game. Replay assignments will be one week in length and generally precede an on-field assignment. With these staffing levels, MLB anticipates replay reviews will take one minute to complete.

Replay Equality - Home & Away Feeds, 12 Camera Angles in All Parks
> MLB will require all replay officials have access to both home and away feeds, including the same 12 camera angels in all 30 major league ballparks.

Teams Permitted to Show Close Calls, Reviewed (and non-Reviewed) Plays in Stadium on Screens
> In stating "our fans will love it," Selig reasoned that fans at home watching a game have access to instant replays, so why not fans in the stadium? Accordingly, teams will now be allowed to show two replays of all plays—including those disputed, argued or challenged—on the in-stadium Jumbo-Trons, Big Screens or Diamond Vision video/scoreboards. If the play is challenged, after the review, the Stadium may show the play once more that demonstrates why the call was upheld or overturned.

Teams Permitted to Employ Video Specialist to Recommend Managers Challenge Plays
> Similar to the NFL practice of coaching coordinators calling down from the press box to advise the head coach when to throw the challenge flag, MLB will allow teams to station a replay employee in the clubhouse for the express purpose of calling the dugout to encourage a manager challenge a play.

*Reviewable Plays - Expanded Instant Replay
Plays eligible for instant replay review via managers' challenge or umpires' initiative (after inning 7) include:
> Ground-rule doubles and any boundary calls that are not potential home runs;
> Fan interference situations on any boundary calls that are not potential home runs;
> Any other boundary calls that are not potential home runs;
> Force plays at all bases except second base on a potential double play ("neighborhood play");
> Tag plays (was a runner legally tagged while off his base);
> Tag plays - APPEAL (did a runner touch the base or leave too soon);
> Fair/foul (balls hit to the outfield [beyond 1B/3B] only);
> Catch/trap (balls hit to the outfield [beyond 1B/3B] only);
> Time plays (did the run score prior to the third out being recorded [non-force]);
> Baserunner or batter-runner passing a preceding runner;
> Scoring issues, including ball-strike counts (2-1 or 2-2?), outs, score or substitutions;

**Reviewable plays - Grandfathered Instant Replay
Umpires will retain the right to initiate instant replay, at any time, to review home run/boundary calls.

NOT Reviewable
> Interference, Obstruction, Infield Fly, Balls/Strikes and similar judgment calls not addressed above.

Video: Unions approve instant replay, paving the way for a unique 2014 championship season


Gil Imber said...

Can anyone answer these two caseplays (I am a little confused on new replay rules):

Play 1: In top of the first inning with no runners on and no outs, B1 hits line drive to centerfield. U2 rules ball that ball was trapped by F8. Can the defensive team manager request U2 to ask other members of his crew for help without forfeiting his right to challenge the play?

Play 2: R2, no outs. B2 line base hit up the middle, close play at plate and PU rules R2 out. B2 attempts to take second and is ruled safe at second by U2 on another close play. Offensive team challenges play at plate whereupon it is shown that R2 was safe at home. However, replays also show B2 was out at second. What happens?

Gil Imber said...

I would suggest that before any actual replay occurs the crews will get together first... But then again it could be a pick one or the other???
As far as play two. Replay crew will only look at the play being challenged and not any secondary play after. It will be up to the manager to which play he wants challenged.

Gil Imber said...

Sounds like U2 is having a bad day...

Gil Imber said...

In the first situation no replay was used so the defensive coach would not be charged with a challenge.

In the second situation the manager would have to specify which play he was challenging, the play at the plate or the play at second base. As they are two separate plays the challenge could only be applied to one play.

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