SBD/February 24, 2014/Leagues and Governing Bodies

Torre Says Early Reviews On MLB's Instant Replay System Have Been "Very Positive"

Torre expects MLB replay challenges will take no more than 90 seconds
MLB Exec VP/Baseball Operations Joe Torre has led briefings for 15 teams so far on the league's implementation of instant replay, with the rest to be completed this week, and the early reviews of the system are "strikingly positive," according to Paul White of USA TODAY. Torre said, "The reception from all the clubs has been very positive. That makes us happy." Rays manager Joe Maddon said of the plans, "Really well thought out. They thought about everything, or at least it seems that way." White notes the key to the system "is the command center" at MLBAM HQs in N.Y., which "already is operating." Sixty of the 70 umpires "who will rotate through as replay officials have been trained" as of now. Torre said that he "expects any challenge to take about a minute, maybe 90 seconds at the most." Mini command centers "are being set up in both clubhouses in every major league ballpark" and they "will have the same dedicated video feeds at the same time" as the N.Y. HQs. Teams "can designate whoever they want to watch from the clubhouse and, just like the crew" in N.Y., those people "will have the same ability to choose from every camera angle in the ballpark." The clubhouse rep "will have a phone line directly to the dugout to alert the manager about a potential challenge." Torre: "For a Fox game maybe there are going to be fewer cameras than for a Yankees-Red Sox game where, between NESN and YES, there might be 30 cameras." Torre said that MLB also "will provide cameras and crew for the very few games not televised by either team's rightsholders" (USA TODAY, 2/24).

OTHER EXECS WEIGH IN: In Denver, Troy Renck reported MLB officials "will hold multiple workshops this spring to help soothe concerns and explain the process" of instant replay. Teams are "facing a pair of salient issues: the time allotted for confirmation from a club employee and which employee will fill that role." A's manager Bob Melvin said, "I hear that we will have enough time, but we don't know." Several teams said that they "will use their video coordinators to challenge," while others suggested that they "will hire someone specifically for the job." Rockies Senior VP/Major League Operations & Assistant GM Bill Geivett said, "We will use somebody in-house. And what I do know is that it won't be the same person for all 162 games" (DENVER POST, 2/23). Maddon: "If I ask for anything, that it would be flexible. ... It needs to be a living kind of an organism right now until, in fact, you feel pretty good about it" (TAMPA BAY TIMES, 2/23). Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said, "It sounds as if the challenge process is going to be quick. ... It doesn't sound like it will take a lot of time." He added, "You aren't supposed to flagrantly delay the game if you are going to challenge. If you do, they can take your challenge away -- or you can get reprimanded" (DETROIT NEWS, 2/23).
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