Like it or not, expanded instant replay has arrived in major league baseball.
The league’s new replay system, which includes NFL-like manager challenges, made its debut in a handful of spring training games Monday afternoon. The results?
Managers challenged twice, and came up on the losing end both times.
Blue Jays skipper John Gibbons became the first MLB manager to call for a challenge, asking the umps to review a sixth inning call at first base that ruled the Twins’ Chris Rahl safe. Replay showed that Rahl indeed was safe, so Gibbons lost the challenge.
Umpires 1, managers 0.
Challenge #2 came in the Angels-Diamondbacks game when Mike Scioscia asked for a review of a call on a Luis Jimenez steal attempt. Jimenez was called out, but Scioscia thought he was safe.
Replay showed the umpires were correct, Jimenez was out.
Umpires 2, managers 0.
A Lovie Smith-like challenging record thus far for the managers.
It’s a small sample size obviously, but after one day, replay appears to be functioning smoothly. The replays didn’t take too long. There were no glitches with the technology.
Good news for the umps: they appear to know what they are doing.
The hard part for managers will be working out the exact strategy for challenging. With only one challenge per team each game, there will be some tough calls. Go for a challenge in a key early situation or save that for late in the game?
Maybe if you don’t get the call you need in the early situation you will be too far behind for it to matter late in the game.
Just one more thing for managers to worry about. Those guys have such trying jobs already.