Baseball welcomes expanded replay
Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon has a message for the opponents of expanded replay in baseball, the critics who talk about the human element and the pace of the game.
Go all the way, he said.
“I really challenge them to go back and throw away all this new stuff. Microwaves, throw it away,” Maddon said. “Take away all these comforts of this technology that’s sprung up over the last how many years to make our lives better. To just bury your head in the sand and just reference old school all the time to me is a really poor argument.”
While Maddon was ready to dive straight into expanded replay, much of baseball offered a tentative endorsement of Thursday’s proposal for increased video review options for next season. Atlanta Braves President John Schuerholz, a member of baseball’s replay committee along with former managers Joe Torre and Tony La Russa, said 89 percent of incorrect calls made in the past will be reviewable, but he did not provide a list.
“I’m all for getting calls right. That’s a good thing,” Twins catcher Joe Mauer said. “I really haven’t seen the changes that are going to be made, so I really don’t have an opinion on that. But to make the game better, that’s what we’re all striving for.”
A 75 percent vote by the owners is needed for approval, and the players’ association and umpires would have to agree to any changes to the current system. But most players and managers seemed pleased while waiting to learn more about the new system.
“I’m all for it, reviewing the plays,” Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. “I am, and how we do it, I’m not set in a certain way, but I think it’s a good thing. I think most managers are all for it, too, and I think most umpires. It’s all about getting it right so I’m excited to hear this has a strong possibility to be part of the game.”
Umpires have come under increased scrutiny following several missed calls this season.
Managers will be allowed one challenge over the first six innings of a game and two from the seventh inning until the completion of the game. Balls and strikes are not reviewable, and challenged calls are settled by a crew at MLB headquarters in New York City, which will make a final ruling.
The amount of challenges and the emphasis on the last part of the game drew the attention of several managers.
“I just don’t like the idea that the earlier part of the game is considered less important than the latter part of the game,” Maddon said. “That’s all. I know we’ve lost games in the first inning. You could lose games in the second inning.”
Royals manager Ned Yost thinks three challenges is too many.
“It’s more than we need,” he said. “I’m sitting back and thinking, probably in the last two weeks or three weeks, I can’t think of three balls I would have challenged, but it’s still nice to have the ability to be able to do it.”
A manager who sees a call he feels is incorrect can file a challenge with the crew chief or home plate umpire. Only reviewable plays can be challenged. Non-reviewable plays can still be argued by managers, who can request that the umpires discuss it to see if another member of the crew saw the play differently. Reviewable plays cannot be argued by the manager.
Challenges not used in the first six innings will not carry over, and a manager who wins a review will retain it.
The home run replay rules currently in use will be grandfathered in to the new system, Schuerholz said.
“I think the biggest thing is that everybody watching the game knows at home — you know, because they replay it — so we want to make sure the calls get right,” said pitcher C.J. Wilson, the union rep for the Angels, “and we’ve had some instances where the calls haven’t been right over the last couple years.
“That’s why we’ve gone to the replay thing, is because the season’s coming down to the last game for some of these teams that are in the wild-card race or whatever,” he said, “and if they lose a game because of a replay that doesn’t happen, you can imagine how upset they would be.”
One of the biggest concerns is slowing down the game. Schuerholz said with a direct line of communication between the central office and the ballparks the expectation is that replays under the new system will take 1 minute, 15 seconds. Current replays average just over 3 minutes.
Some said the use of replay could have a positive effect on the pace because it will prevent many on-field arguments.
“I like the fact that I don’t have to argue with the umpires, because I’m not a good arguer to begin with,” Yost said. “I lose my mind, I start using bad language, and you don’t get anywhere. ... I just think this is going to be a much, much better system.”
AP Sports Writers Jon Krawczynski in Minneapolis, Noah Trister in Detroit, Mike Fitzpatrick in New York and John Kekis in Cooperstown, N.Y., and freelance writers Mark Didtler in St. Peterburg, Fla., and Harvey Valentine in Washington contributed to this report.