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MLB Officially Unveils 900-Square-Foot Replay Operations Center
Published March 27, 2014
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CHALLENGE-BASED SYSTEM: Unlike the other major sports’ use of instant replay, MLB’s newly expanded system will operate on a challenge-based system in which a manager will receive one challenge per game, with a second one awarded if a manager correctly overturns a call with his first. The league is aiming for replay decisions to require at most three minutes on average to make, with initial trials during Spring Training with lesser technological resources hovering in that range. MLB’s average length of game last year was a record 2:59, and Torre said other existing pace-of-game rules will need more stringent enforcing to enable the expanded replay system. “In order to make this thing work and not have it make the games longer is the fact we really have to start disciplining and paying attention to repeat violators,” he said.
NINE WORK STATIONS: The Replay Operations Center features nine work stations, each with four 46-inch screens and headsets allowing immediate communications with umpires at any ballpark. The room, formerly a MLBAM video edit station that has since been relocated two floors down within Manhattan’s Chelsea market, is lit low to allow for better viewing of the screens and features its own power supply, heating and ventilation. While constructing the facility in a short period of time was its own operational challenge, a bigger obstacle was outfitting each of the 30 ballparks with identical video equipment teams will use to aid managers on replay challenge decisions. “You had 30 different facility layouts and space issues in some of them. That was definitely a big hurdle,” said MLBAM Chief Technical Officer Joe Inzerillo. Specific financial costs on the project have not been disclosed. But more than $10M was spent to wire the ballparks and the overall expanded instant replay project has approached $30M according to industry estimates.