Cooperstown, NY, United States (4E Sports) – As part of efforts to reduce incorrect calls, the expanded instant play was approved during the final day of the quarterly MLB Owners Meetings.
“This is a chance for baseball to dramatically reduce the number of incorrect calls that are made in any game that impacts the outcome of that game and hence the outcome of division races,” Braves president John Schuerholz said.
“We believe that not only is it historic, but it will be impactful and very meaningful and useful,” he added.
After thoroughly studying the plan, Schuerholz and former big league managers Joe Torre and Tony La Russa presented their findings that were readily accepted by team owners.
“I couldn’t help but sense in the room the acceptance and excitement,” Commissioner Bud Selig said. “People understood they were sitting in on something that was historic.”
The owners will formally vote on the issue at their next meetings in Orlando, Florida in November.
The changes must also be negotiated with both the Major League Baseball Players Association and the World Umpires Association, although the use of review for fair-foul and trap plays was incorporated into the most recent basic agreement.
Highlights of the new system are as follows:
•A review will be initiated when a manager informs the umpire that he wants to challenge a play. He will be allowed one challenge in the first six innings and two more from the seventh through the end of the game.
• If the manager wins his appeal, he retains the challenge. The challenge from the first six innings does not carry over.
• Not all plays are reviewable.
• If a manager disagrees with a reviewable call, his only recourse would be to use a challenge. Managers would not be able to argue a reviewable call in a bid to get it overturned without the use of replay. A manager could still argue in situations not open to review, such as when defending a player or questioning an improper substitution.
“This is a historic moment for baseball,” Schuerholz said. “It’s the first time in the history of baseball that managers have been empowered with this capability.”
“Reviewable plays will cover 89 percent of those incorrect calls that were made in the past,” Schuerholz explained. “The 11 percent remaining are in the non-reviewable category, which can still be argued by the manager.”
Schuerholz said the manager can still request that the umpires get together and discuss it to see if anybody else on the crew saw it differently but it’s not reviewable.
Torre and La Russa will work with managers beginning at the Winter Meetings in December and into Spring Training. There will also be training sessions with the umpires beginning in the Arizona Fall League and continuing into Spring Training.