As far as I understand, here are the key elements of a new review system that have been announced by MLB:
- It is a ‘challenge system’ and not one initiated by an umpire (or a replay umpire).
- Each manager will have three challenges in a game, one in the first six innings and two in the remainder of the game (no carry over from the first six innings into the latter part of the game).
- If the challenge is successful (and the call overturned), then the manager gets back that call, potentially allowing many more than three challenges during a game.
- The reviews will be done by humans at the MLB Advanced Media facility in NYC.
- Balls and strikes cannot be appealed but most other plays can (89% of the umpires’ calls are to be reviewable, tho the specifics have not been announced yet).
- Non-reviewable plays can still be argued by a manager who can request the four umpires meet to discuss a call.
- The new system, if approved by the owners, the players, and the umpires, will be instituted for the 2014 season and will be reviewed for adjustments prior to the 2015 season.
There is also a report that the umpires will ask for what is being called a ‘doomsday trigger’ – the ability to request a replay themselves if a manager is out of challenges.
To read (and see) for yourself more specifically what MLB’s commissioner Bud Selig actually announced, see this link, MLB to Expand Instant Reply.
Apparently, MLB had to decide whether to go with a ‘challenge system’ or a system which would let the umpire or a replay umpire decide what would be reviewed. In deciding on the ‘challenge system,’ they chose a variation of what is already in use in other sports, particularly NFL football.
MLB believes that this new system will compensate for umpire error and will take only 1 1/2 minutes per challenge, less than the three minutes that it now takes when the umpires go off of the field to review a play themselves. Additionally, MLB seems to believe that there will be a reduction in time spent with managers arguing calls as the replays will be triggered immediately when a team asks for one.
One of the criticisms of this system is that it is only a ‘half step’ and that MLB should have gone with an umpire directed replay scenario if the intent is to get all of the calls right and not be dependent upon a manager asking for or being out of challenges.
The best article I’ve seen that argues that the ‘challenge system’ is only a partial response to getting calls right is Joe Posnasnki’s MLB Blows Call with Challenge System.
So, what do you think?
Is this system a good one?
Is baseball going to be better off because of it?
Will the ‘human element’ be taken out of baseball and so change what we’ve had up until now?
Will games be lengthened, shortened?
Is it the right replay system?
Please add your Comment below.