Oct 8, 2013; Detroit, MI, USA; The umpires head inside to review a ball hit for a solo home run by Detroit Tigers designated hitter Victor Martinez (not pictured) in the seventh inning in game four of the American League divisional series playoff baseball game against the Oakland Athletics at Comerica Park. (Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports)

Owners Approve Expansion of Instant Replay

Starting next season, MLB will have a broader spectrum to cover where instant replay is concerned. In a unanimous vote, the owners approved the expanding instant replay. It will be a little different that what you see in the image above. First, the particulars.

Here are the plays subject to review:

  • Home run
  • Ground rule double
  • Fan interference
  • Stadium boundary calls (e.g., fielder into stands, ball into stands triggering dead ball)
  • Force play (except the fielder’s touching of second base on a double play)
  • Tag play (including steals and pickoffs)
  • Fair/foul in outfield only
  • Trap play in outfield only
  • Batter hit by pitch
  • Timing play (whether a runner scores before a third out)
  • Touching a base (still requires appeal)
  • Passing runners
  • Record keeping (Ball-strike count to a batter, outs, score, and substitutions)

No other plays are reviewable, but, the umpire crew can gather for a conference in order to assure that a correct call is made.

Now, the process…

In addition, managers will receive one challenge. The manager must request his challenge to the crew chief. The review can cover multiple portions of the same play, but the manager must detail what portion(s) of the play he wants reviewed. If any portion of a challenged play is overturned, the manager will retain his challenge to use on one more play. This could see a team have two challenges total.

After the beginning of the 7th inning, if a manager no longer has his challenge, the crew chief may review a call. This would be only at the crew chief’s discretion and cannot be initiated by any team with no challenges remaining. Home run calls currently subject to instant replay will continue to be reviewed as needed without challenge. Managers may request that an umpire review a home run call, but managers cannot challenge home run calls.

Once replay is requested, the crew chief signals to the official scorer that a play is under review. The crew chief and at least one other umpire will move to a designated location near home plate, where access to the Replay Command Center in New York is available (similar to the NHL). Umpires will staff the center (as replay officials) located at MLB Advanced Media headquarters. The center will have direct access to video from most cameras in the ballpark regardless of whether they are shown on the live broadcast.

The replay official will view the video to determine if there is clear and convincing evidence to overturn a call. If a call is overturned, the replay official will also use his judgment to determine where to appropriately place runners if the play had been called correctly on the field, if necessary. The umpires on the field will not have a monitor to review the play and they will not leave the field at any time. The replay official will make the ultimate determination of whether to overturn the call.

Teams will be permitted personnel to communicate with a video specialist, located in the team clubhouse. This is to determine of a play should be reviewed by the team

One last thing, teams will now have the OK to replay close plays on the scoreboard, something MLB had frowned upon in the past.

Tags: Expanded Instant Replay MLB

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