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Replay approved by MLB owners: Managers to only get two challenges

Nov 14, 2013, 1:57 PM EDT

Bud Selig

As expected, baseball owners approved expanded instant replay for the 2014 season at the owners meetings today. The vote was unanimous. It now goes to the players union and the umpires union in January. Each of them will have to ratify it then.

In its current form it still employs a manager challenge system. Which, as we’ve argued ad nauseum, is an idiotic way to do do things if the goal is to actually get calls correct as opposed to (a) relieving umpires of the responsibility to get calls right and placing it on managers; and (b) introducing a needless strategic element into the game.

But there’s a twist! When the challenge system was unveiled back in August, managers were allowed one challenge in the first six innings and two more from the seventh through the end of the game. Now managers will get a maximum of two challenges that can be used at any point in the game. This too could change, however, as the league will negotiate further with the umps and players.

Bud Selig, who was long opposed to replay, issued a nice comment about it all after the vote:

“My father always said life is a series of adjustments and I’ve made an adjustment. There isn’t one play or one instance that changed my mind. It has just happened over time. I know we’re doing the right thing.”

It’s nice to see someone in a position of power change their mind about something as opposed to continuing to spend all of their efforts either telling you they’re right or changing their mind while pretending that they really haven’t.  Still: wish he’d change his mind about the challenge system.


  1. icanspeel - Nov 14, 2013 at 2:07 PM

    It’s a start, but will probably take awhile to iron out the system.

    • NatsLady - Nov 14, 2013 at 2:37 PM

      Well, then you just give an apologetic press conference.

  2. sdelmonte - Nov 14, 2013 at 2:14 PM

    If a manager loses a challenge, Rex Ryan loses a time out, right?

    • wetmorepsu12 - Nov 14, 2013 at 2:45 PM

      Either Rex or Andy Reid.

  3. emdash01 - Nov 14, 2013 at 2:39 PM

    It’s interesting that this is happening right as so many new managers are entering the league. Having this new major element arguably eliminates a large portion of the strategic advantage a more experienced manager might be expected to have, as this would be something that everyone has to figure out how to best use to their advantage at the same time.

  4. happytwinsfan - Nov 14, 2013 at 2:39 PM

    will managers still be allowed to throw tantrums or will they have to wait until their challenges are used up.

    • natstowngreg - Nov 14, 2013 at 3:30 PM

      Nah, MLB won’t mess with a manager’s inalienable right to argue whatever he feels like arguing. Including his right to behave like a spoiled child in public.

  5. xdj511 - Nov 14, 2013 at 2:40 PM

    “My father always said life is a series of adjustments and I’ve made an adjustment.”

    I wonder if his mama always said that life was like a box of chocolates.

    • nbjays - Nov 14, 2013 at 3:52 PM

      I’m going with “Stupid is as stupid does”, myself…

    • cur68 - Nov 14, 2013 at 7:10 PM

      Wish his mama had said “Don’t die your hair canary yellow when you older than dirt, boy. You’ll look like a damn fool!”

  6. NYTolstoy - Nov 14, 2013 at 2:41 PM

    here’s a question if a manager uses a challenge and the call is reversed. Do they keep the challenge? Or is it used up in some idiotic way.

    • jwbiii - Nov 14, 2013 at 10:17 PM

      Yes. This headline should be “. . . two unsuccessful challenges.”

  7. brianjoates - Nov 14, 2013 at 2:50 PM

    Just hire an extra ump who can review each and every play, Buzz down to the home plate umpire if a call needs to be overturned. Just get the calls right every time. Who is going to be reviewing the challenges?

    • natstowngreg - Nov 14, 2013 at 3:33 PM

      That’s basically what Craig has been arguing. Obviously, MLB isn’t listening.

    • jwbiii - Nov 14, 2013 at 10:20 PM

      Former umpires, based in New York, will be the reviewers.

  8. cocheese000 - Nov 14, 2013 at 2:52 PM

    The only problem I have with this is that I can see a manager using a challenge just to break up another teams momentum and quiet a crowd for a bit.

    • ptfu - Nov 14, 2013 at 3:10 PM

      There’s that, and I could also see a manager challenging something for the purposes of giving a reliever more time to warm up. Kind of like those mound visits to a struggling pitcher which are really timeouts in disguise.

    • nothanksimdriving123 - Nov 14, 2013 at 5:12 PM

      However, the first time he does that and because of it does not have a remaining challenge to deal with an obviously wrong call, he’ll get roasted by media and fans and be much less likely to make a habit of it.

  9. billybawl - Nov 14, 2013 at 3:19 PM

    “It’s nice to see someone in a position of power change their mind about something as opposed to continuing to spend all of their efforts either telling you they’re right or changing their mind while pretending that they really haven’t.”

    I wish he would also admit that tying World Series home field advantage to the All-Star Game was a mistake and they’ll go back to alternating between leagues.

    • moogro - Nov 14, 2013 at 5:18 PM

      Also with an appeal to The Father figure. It makes it all OK.

  10. xdj511 - Nov 14, 2013 at 3:23 PM

    There’s going to be an “Armando Galarraga” moment… where an obvious call is missed at the end of a game… and the manager has already used up his two challenges for the game… and we’ll be pretty much right back where we started.

    • Senor Cardgage - Nov 14, 2013 at 3:42 PM

      There was talk when the challenge system was first introduced that the umpires would request and be granted the so-called nuclear option and thereby be able to challenge anything they want toward the very end of the game. No idea whether that’s still on the table.

      • xdj511 - Nov 14, 2013 at 4:47 PM

        If it were so simple as granting the umpires discretion to review any close call, we wouldn’t even need a challenge system!

      • jwbiii - Nov 14, 2013 at 10:24 PM

        Umpires will be able to request a review. This is why managers’ tantrums will continue. After they are out of challenges, managers will scream, “Joe, ya gotta f’n review that! He f’n safe by a mile!”

  11. jss1330 - Nov 14, 2013 at 3:36 PM

    Why not use replay to get the call right and not some made up tactical decision?

  12. jkcalhoun - Nov 14, 2013 at 3:47 PM

    If I may, Bud, I’d like to use one of my challenges to contest the specifics of the proposed challenge rule.

  13. Senor Cardgage - Nov 14, 2013 at 3:48 PM

    I’d like to defend the challenge system by comparing it to college football versus the NFL. In college, it seems like every other series they review a close play, most of which stand. It really messes with the flow of the game. In the NFL, a coach has to have a pretty good idea that the call was missed before risking a challenge. To me this is better because we don’t waste time on the plays that could go either way and instead focus on calls that are obviously blown.

  14. moogro - Nov 14, 2013 at 5:25 PM

    Whenever there is a random, elaborate fix that no one wants chosen over a simple, better fix that everyone likes, you know politics are involved. In this case, it is the umpires union forcing this on MLB. We’ll get the 5th umpire eventually, but that will either require more mass outrage or a decrease in the umpires’ behind-the-scenes power. Oh, and single-payer healthcare.

    • daviclark55 - Nov 15, 2013 at 12:35 PM

      Why would the umpire union force the challenge system? Wouldn’t they rather have the additional positions (5th umpire) and potential job longevity (you can hang on when you can’t be a field ump any longer…)?

      • jdillydawg - Nov 16, 2013 at 2:50 PM

        I can’t understand how the union supports replay at all. They’ve pretty much just written their death notice. As soon as the system is introduced that makes calls from video/computer as quickly as the umps (which, in my opinion, has probably already been created), we’ll have a whole lotta guys in blue looking for new jobs.

  15. raynman49 - Nov 14, 2013 at 6:25 PM

    If the umpires today were competent, you wouldn’t need replay. However, with the goofy outfield fences, replay for homers is okay.

  16. janessa31888 - Nov 14, 2013 at 7:29 PM

    Bud, did you suck on a lemon? He looks rather sour in that picture.

  17. joerymi - Nov 15, 2013 at 12:59 PM

    The NHL does it the right way. With all of the camera angles and slow motion, most calls can be made in 20 seconds, FROM THE LEAGUE OFFICE. If it can’t be decided with a couple looks, they go back to the original call. It doesn’t need to be done with all of the umpires looking at a screen. Give them this new device called a cellphone.

    Oh, and lets eliminate these 5 minute outbursts from managers. Eliminate those, and the game won’t slow down even with multiple plays being reviewed.

    Challenges are stupid.

  18. jdillydawg - Nov 16, 2013 at 2:45 PM

    I see why Bud has adjusted his opinion, but it still saddens me.

    Now we just need to sit back and prepare for a standard 41/2 hour game. I never thought going to the ballgame would actually take longer than a round of golf at a public course in a busy city, but that’s how it’s all shaping up.

    Of course, the next logical step now is to fire all the umpires. Video and computers have opened the door, let’s bust it all the way open now. Why we have someone behind the plate anymore is beyond me given we can see if it was a true ball or strike after every pitch. Video makes the umps’ jobs in the fields obsolete as well.

    Put sensors in the bags, in the players’ shoes, and hell, even in the balls. We’ll have absolute perfection when it comes to getting the call right EVERY SINGLE TIME.

    And we all know we live in a perfect world. So this is perfect. Just perfect. If not a whole helluva lot slower and more painful…

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