MLB approves instant replay expansion

USA TODAY Sports

Major League Baseball has moved into the twenty-first century by officially expanding instant replay.

Major League Baseball has announced that all thirty clubs approved an expanded instant replay system for the 2014 season. Back in August, the league had suggested that the revised replay system would be a combination of the NFL and NHL challenge systems. Presumably based on the NFL system, a team could challenge one call per game before the seventh inning. A successful challenge would beget an additional potential challenge for the team. After the seventh inning, plays would be reviewed at the umpires' discretion. Referencing the NHL review system, the crew chief will phone to a central location, where a group of umpires will review the call and make a ruling. Each manager will also be given a phone line where they will be counseled by a member of the individual organization as to whether or not they should challenge.

Joe Torre, in a press conference, suggested that the replay officials will call the league offices in New York where a 60 to 90 second review will be conducted. The instant replay will also be shown on the scoreboard in the stadium where the review is taking place. As a result of replay officials being needed, Major League Baseball will be hiring eight new umpires to work in the league offices.

While the list of reviewable plays has not yet been released, some have already been discussed publicly. Home plate collisions will be reviewable, but "neighborhood plays" will not. Atlanta Braves president John Schuerholz suggests that 89% of missed calls in the past will now be reviewable, including fair-or-foul calls and trapped balls, while hit-by-pitches will not be reviewable. Schuerholz also notes:

This is a historic moment for baseball. We have moved forward with a plan that would give our managers an opportunity to help control the calls that are made that impact their team, give them a better opportunity to see to it that they have an opportunity to win the game.

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