Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Schuerholz: "Complexities" Affecting Replay Installation

MLB has encountered instant replay "complexities" affecting the technology's implementation into Major League games, according to Braves president and instant replay committee chairman John Scheurholz.

MLB: Instant replay more complex than first thought.
Speaking to reporters Wednesday from Arizona's Paradise Valley, Scheurholz acknowledged that baseball has come across unexpected variables in the league's adoption of expanded video instant replay review, though he remained optimistic that despite the challenges posed by the new system, MLB will institute, at the very least, a beta version of expanded instant replay in 2014.

Referring to a three year roll-out plan, Scheurholz said MLB will "take [its] time" to develop and revise the system to a "perfect" standard. According to Commissioner Bud Selig's expansion announcement, replays will exclude HBP/foul and ball/strike calls and will be conducted from MLB HQ in New York. Earlier this week, MLB hired seven MiLB call-up umpires in a move that paves the way for an additional umpiring crew and, potentially, a rotational assignment at MLB's replay room.

In November, baseball experimented with expanded instant replay and a manager challenge system during a five-game stretch of the Arizona Fall League. The games, which were broadcast on MLB Network and umpired by crew chief Tripp Gibson, Sean Barber, Jeff Gosney and Pat Hoberg, produced 15 challenged calls of which 12 were upheld, or a 20% overturn rate. Previous data suggested that a replay-necessitated close call occurs about once per game and is missed 20% of the time.

Next up are the unions. The Major League Baseball Players Association (MLBPA) and World Umpires Association (WUA) have yet to approve the technology for use in big league games.

MLBPA executive director Tony Clark described instant replay as a "continuing" dialogue and expects to "find common ground on both [replay and banning or otherwise legislating home plate collisions] soon."

The umpires' union, led by President Joe West, did not comment on the ongoing discussion.

If instant replay is reality this season, as is expected, the UEFL will score challenges in similar fashion to the way ejections are tracked (See Rules 4 and 6 of the UEFL Official Rules).

Video: Atlanta's John Scheurholz discusses instant replay and the complexities that have arisen


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