Skip to content

Joe Torre on instant replay: “it’s complicated”

Dec 11, 2013, 5:37 PM EDT

Ben Revere, Bob Davidson AP

LAKE BUENA VISTA, FL — Joe Torre just addressed the media at the Winter Meetings to announce the latest developments on instant replay. The latest: not many developments.

Torre said that the matter was discussed at length with managers and general managers here this morning and that, while the league has given general approval of a challenge-based system like the one recently tested in the Arizona Fall League, there are still a number of issues that need to be finalized with respect to implementation. Torre said he is confident, however, that replay will be approved and in place for spring training and the 2014 season.

The challenge system — as opposed to any number of “eye in the sky” or fifth umpire-in-the-booth scenarios — seems unlikely to be changed, even if the specifics of what can and cannot be challenged are still in flux. A baseball source told me that there has been extensive discussion about something other than a challenge system, but that the consensus is still that a challenge system is still preferable. A big reason for this the time between the end of the play and initiation of the challenge. A manager may be expected to challenge swiftly, replay officials may deliberate more. During that deliberation a pitch may already be thrown.

One specific issue I and others have raised about a challenge system is what happens to umpire discretion on the so-called “neighborhood play” at second base, in which umpires — in the interest of fielder safety — will call a runner out even if the fielder doesn’t have a foot on the bag. I asked Torre if there has been discussion about what might happen to the neighborhood play if managers challenge the technical skirting of the rules about force outs. He immediately said “yes, lots of discussion.” I got the strong sense that that issue has taken up a lot of space and time in this whole story.

A person with knowledge of the managerial discussions told me after Torre’s comments that, at the moment, the idea is to make the neighborhood play non-challengable in the interests of fielder safety. Transfer plays, however — in which the fielder turning a double play may bobble the ball while retrieving it from his glove — will be reviewable.

None of this is perfect, obviously. But even a flawed system is preferable to one in which no replay is available. And, my personal criticisms and preference for a fifth umpire in the booth aside, it’s inevitable that whatever is ultimately implemented will improve with usage and practice. Put differently: it’s time for the discussion to end and time for replay to begin. the faster that happens, the quicker the debugging can happen.

Latest Posts
  1. Yankees (finally) place Mark Teixeira on the disabled list

    Sep 4, 2015, 11:33 AM EDT

    Mark Teixeira AP

    Teixeira suffered the injury on August 17.

  2. Scott Boras and the Mets disagree on what Matt Harvey’s innings limit is

    Sep 4, 2015, 11:03 AM EDT

    Matt Harvey Matt Harvey

    Just when you thought the Mets would enjoy a smooth, controversy-free final month of the regular season.

  3. And That Happened: Thursday’s scores and highlights

    Sep 4, 2015, 7:29 AM EDT

    Carlos Gonzalez AP

    Carlos Gonzalez hit two homers for the second straight night.

  4. Bryce Harper walks in all four of his plate appearances, scores four runs

    Sep 3, 2015, 11:04 PM EDT

    FILE - In this July 21, 2015, file photo, Washington Nationals' Bryce Harper pauses in the dugout during a baseball game against the New York Mets at Nationals Park in Washington. Mike Trout turned 24 on Friday, and he and Bryce Harper could become the youngest pair of MVPs in major league history if they win this year.  (AP Photo/Alex Brandon, File) AP

    Bryce Harper didn’t have an official at-bat tonight, but he still made a major impact in the Nationals’ 15-1 blowout victory over the Braves.

  5. Marcus Stroman is getting closer to rejoining the Blue Jays

    Sep 3, 2015, 11:00 PM EDT

    Toronto Blue Jays starting pitcher Marcus Stroman throws during the first inning of a spring training exhibition baseball game against the Pittsburgh Pirates in Bradenton, Fla., Wednesday, March 4, 2015. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar) AP

    Stroman threw 4 2/3 hitless innings in his first minor league rehab start.

  6. Jose Iglesias exits game after being hit in hand while trying to bunt

    Sep 3, 2015, 10:29 PM EDT

    jose iglesias

    Tigers shortstop Jose Iglesias was forced to exit Thursday’s game against the Royals in the third inning when he was hit in the hand while trying to drop down a bunt.

  7. Corey Seager starting at shortstop and batting eighth in MLB debut Thursday

    Sep 3, 2015, 9:50 PM EDT

    GLENDALE, AZ - FEBRUARY 28: Corey Seager #61 of the Los Angeles Dodgers poses for a portrait during spring training photo day at Camelback Ranch on February 28, 2015 in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Rob Tringali/Getty Images) Getty Images

    The Dodgers called up top prospect Corey Seager today and manager Don Mattingly isn’t wasting any time getting him into the starting lineup…

  8. Daniel Murphy day-to-day with mild quad strain

    Sep 3, 2015, 8:46 PM EDT

    NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 16:  Daniel Murphy #28 of the New York Mets reacts after he is out at first to tend the eighth inning against the Pittsburgh Pirates on August 16, 2015 at Citi Field in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City.The Pittsburgh Pirates defeated the New York Mets 8-1.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) Getty Images

    Murphy had a stint on the disabled list earlier this season due to a left quad strain.

  9. Stephen Strasburg expected to return for series against Mets next week

    Sep 3, 2015, 7:37 PM EDT

    Washington Nationals starting pitcher Stephen Strasburg throws during the first inning of a baseball game against the Miami Marlins at Nationals Park, Sunday, Aug. 30, 2015, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon) AP

    Strasburg left his most recent start on Sunday with discomfort in his upper back, but he’s on track to make his return for a crucial series against the Mets next week.

  10. Andrew McCutchen is battling some Achilles tightness

    Sep 3, 2015, 6:50 PM EDT

    Pittsburgh Pirates' Andrew McCutchen hits a solo-home run off Chicago Cubs starting pitcher Dan Haren during the third inning of a baseball game in Pittsburgh, Wednesday, Aug. 5, 2015. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar) AP

    McCutchen feels “a little sore” and has been “hobbling around a little bit,” so he’ll take a rest before a big series against the Cardinals this weekend.

  11. ESPN pulls Curt Schilling off broadcasts for rest of regular season and Wild Card game

    Sep 3, 2015, 6:13 PM EDT

    Curt Schilling AP

    ESPN has pulled Schilling from their broadcasts for the remainder of the season.

  12. Rival scout says he’s really impressed with what the Phillies have done this year

    Sep 3, 2015, 4:31 PM EDT

    Ruben Amaro Jr. Ruben Amaro Jr.

    Sentiments like these — of which I’ve seen a few — makes me wonder about Ruben Amaro.

  13. Matt Harvey is expected to take his next turn

    Sep 3, 2015, 1:51 PM EDT

    Matt Harvey Matt Harvey

    He was suffering from dehydration yesterday.

  14. David Ortiz tweets his happiness about the Deflategate decision

    Sep 3, 2015, 1:05 PM EDT

    World Series - Boston Red Sox v St Louis Cardinals - Game Four Getty Images

    Finally, Tom Brady and Boston sports fans get a win!

  15. Tim Lincecum’s career with the Giants is likely over

    Sep 3, 2015, 12:46 PM EDT

    Tim Lincecum Getty Getty Images

    Shut down for the season with a hip injury.

Top 10 MLB Player Searches
  1. G. Stanton (2494)
  2. H. Ramirez (2487)
  3. G. Springer (2461)
  4. S. Strasburg (2383)
  5. J. Baez (2350)
  1. C. Correa (2346)
  2. B. Crawford (2271)
  3. H. Pence (2262)
  4. M. Teixeira (2197)
  5. B. Harper (2057)