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Expanded instant replay approved for 2014

Major League BaseballWe’ll see expanded instant replay in Major League Baseball next season, as officials approved a plan to allow reviews of virtually every play, save balls and strikes, check swings and foul tips, out of New York City.

It’s not a groundbreaking setup — it’s basically the same system used to review contested calls in the NHL — but it’s a dramatic expansion of exactly what can be reviewed. Whereas in the past review was limited to home runs (real or otherwise), the new plan will cover virtually every aspect of the game. From AP:

“Tag plays, out/safe at first, fair/foul past the bags, those are all going to be included,” said Rob Manfred, MLB’s chief operating officer….

Manfred said when a manager wants to challenge a call, he will notify an umpire, triggering a review in New York by what are likely to be present or retired big league umps. A headset would be brought to the crew chief, who would be notified of the decision.

There will be a maximum of two challenges per manager in each game — “it could be less,” Manfred said — and if the challenge is upheld it would not be counted against the manager’s limit. If a manager is out of challenges, umpires probably will be allowed request a review on their own.

It will not be cheap: the plan, from a committee consisting of MLB vice president Joe Torre, Atlanta Braves president John Schuerholz and former manager Tony La Russa, could run as high as $40 million.

One concern: players could stall to give managers a chance to decide whether to challenge a call. In tests in the Arizona Fall League, contested calls were completed in under two minutes, but we’re talking about a lower-stakes, untelevised atmosphere. La Russa think players will have the integrity not to let this happen.

RELATED STORIES: Expanded instant replay on tap for 2014


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