MLB brass is tweaking replay, but not enough. (USATSI)
Major League Baseball implemented expanded replay last season and I’d have to say the results were a bit disappointing, especially early in the season. Just anecdotally speaking, it felt like far too many obviously correct calls were being challenged by the managers and those same managers were stalling on far too many occasions before getting the green or red light from their dugouts as to whether or not to use a challenge.
On that front, we have gotten both good and bad news this offseason.
We’ll get the bad news out of the way first, as it just happened.
Manager challenges will remain in the system (via nypost.com), per soon-to-be commissioner Rob Manfred as of Friday morning.
I hate this. Emotional reactions (i.e. challenging a close play because you really want your player to be in the right) and use-it-or-lose-it challenges (i.e. it’s the last time a manager can use a challenge and a close yet obvious call, so it doesn’t hurt anything to challenge it) lead to lots of dead time in the ballpark.
I will continue to preach that it shouldn’t be difficult to assign a replay official or two to each individual game and if there’s a close call, let them take a look. Most of the time we all watched replays on TV last season, didn’t we know within, say, 45 seconds, what the correct call should be? Yet we’re delaying games upwards of four minutes to get it right.
On that latter point, though, we do have some good news.
Remember how often, specifically toward the start of last season, that we’d see a manager sauntering out to the field to discuss the call with the umpires as slowly as possible, in order to buy their replay review guys in the clubhouse enough time to determine if a play should be challenged? Yeah, that’s gone.
Executive vice president Joe Torre said as much and even took the blame, via nypost.com:
“That was really my baby,” Torre said. “The one thing we talked about challenging, I didn’t want to take away from the manager the fact that he could run out there and argue. I didn’t really plan on them meandering out there and having conversations, You live and learn.
“I think that’s one area [where] we’ll do something different. We’ll eliminate some of that standing around because 10 seconds in our game seems like a lifetime. Hopefully we can make that a little more comfortable.”
Let’s hope so.
As far as the managers still running out and arguing, I’d like to mention that if managers had no challenges (hint, hint), they’d probably run out a lot more often. Just saying.
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