The use of instant replay in major league baseball games will likely expand in 2014, giving managers the ability to appeal calls umpires may have gotten wrong. Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig unveiled the new instant replay system Thursday after meeting with representatives from all 30 teams. Club owners will vote on the expansion in November, with a three-quarters majority needed to approval the new system.
“There’s no reason, with the technology we have, with the camera angles we can produce now, not to take advantage of it,’’ said Oakland Athletics shortstop Jed Lowrie. “It would be hard to argue with getting the call right.”
According to the new system, managers will have one challenge over the first six innings of each game and two more challenges from the seventh inning until the game is over. Managers will be able to challenge almost any umpire ruling with which they disagree, aside from balls and strikes. Once a play is challenged, an umpiring crew at the Major League Baseball headquarters in New York City will review the play and make a decision.
Instant replay has led to widespread debate among major league baseball players over the past decade. The main argument opposing replay usage is that it goes against the traditional nature of the game. But on Thursday, players and managers almost unanimously voiced approval of the new system.
“Of course I like it,” said Tampa Bay Rays manager Joe Maddon. “I like flat-screen TVs with high definition. I like air conditioning in my 1956 Bel Air. I like computers. To just bury your head in the sand and just reference old-school all the time is really a poor argument.”
While he supports the use of instant replay, Kansas City Royals manager Ned Yost said that he thinks three challenges is too many for each game. Other managers and players expressed concerns over the possibility that instant replay challenges could lengthen the time of games. But aside from those few issues, almost everyone agreed that the time has now come for baseball to embrace the future.
“It’s our time to make the right decision,” Maddon said. “Live with it, understand it. It makes thing better, makes things more accurate. So, what’s wrong with that?”