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Expanded instant replay on tap for 2014

Major League BaseballMajor League Baseball is planning a major expansion of replay for the 2014 season, using the findings of a replay committee as the blueprint for a new streamlined appeal system.

The plan, from a committee consisting of MLB vice president Joe Torre, Atlanta Braves president John Schuerholz and former manager Tony La Russa, will allow any play — save balls and strikes — to be reviewed at the request of a manager. That’s a dramatic expansion of the replay system and will cover everything from foul balls to trapped catches to baserunning calls.

“I’m proud of them,” MLB Commissioner Bud Selig said at a press conference today. “It’s worked out remarkably well. It’s historic. There’s no question about it.”

The proposal will receive a final vote at the November owners meetings. Still, judging by Selig’s announcement, the approval is a foregone conclusion.

It will not be cheap: the industrywide cost of implementing the system could run as high as $40 million. And it may not be quite as groundbreaking as some in baseball argue: it’s basically the NHL replay system transplanted to ballparks. From USA Today:

The replay will include up to three challenges that mangers will be provided during a game, one in the first six innings, and two beginning in the seventh inning through the game’s duration. If a manager is successful with his replay challenge, he will not be charged with a review.

If a manager exhausts his three challenges, and umpire crew can make a review of its own only to determine home-run calls, a rule that will be grandfathered in with the new regulations.

Baseball, using its central MLBAM offices in New York, will be provided with replay cameras that will be monitored by men with umpiring experience. They will make the final call on disputed plays, not the crew chief.

This system addresses one huge complaint about the expansion of replay in the past: that it could cause too many delays in game action. If the plan proceeds, it would be tested in the Arizona Fall League and then rolled out for the 2014 regular season.


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