For a couple years now, Major League Baseball has looked into expanding instant replay from only checking out fair/foul calls on home runs, a replay system that has seen no update since its implementation during the 2008 season. Now though, it appears that the addition of expanded instant replay for the 2014 season is a mere formality:
Owners approve funding for replay expansion next season. Approval of players' and umpires' union fully expected.— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) November 14, 2013
ESPN reported that the exact rules of the replay and how corrected calls should be applied will be announced in January. Expanded replay is currently being tested in the Arizona Fall League, and CBS Sports recently brought some updates on its use. As a reminder of what the new two-challenge replay system would feature, here's what MLB Trade Rumors wrote about the proposed changes back in August:
The new replay policy will allow managers to ask for replay reviews in a style that is similar to the NFL's challenge system. Managers will have three challenges -- one in the first six innings of the game and two beyond that. Under the new system, which will be phased in starting next season, 89 percent of plays will be deemed reviewable. Should a manager exhaust his three challenges, the umpiring crew can still convene to conduct their own review of a questionable home run.
However, Rosenthal tweeted that MLB has an update to this proposal: there will be a maximum of two manager's challenges per team per game, without any distinctions on innings. This aspect is kind of annoying because if an umpire happens to have a bad game (lookin' at you, Angel Hernandez) and blows more than two calls against a manager's team, there won't be anything he can do about it. That's what makes the NFL's two-challenge system flawed, and MLB made no effort to amend it. There should not be too many instances of umpires having three-blown-call games, but the fact that the possibility exists with no solution (unless the umpire calls for replay on his own) is obnoxious.
That being said, it's great news that MLB is finally joining this century on expanded replay. It's been a long time coming, and we've seen too many atrocious calls stand that could be not corrected with a quick look at the video.
A little bit of clarification on the number of challenges (h/t Harlan):
Replay still needs player and umpire approval. Managers to get a max of two challenges, maybe one. Keep is right, lose if wrong— Shi Davidi (@ShiDavidi) November 14, 2013
That's better than what Rosenthal first reported. Managers shouldn't be penalized if the replay holds up and the umpire originally made a mistake.
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