SBD/April 10, 2014/Leagues and Governing Bodies

Reviews Are In: MLB's Replay System Gets Mostly High Marks For First Week

Replay has been used 51 times, with reviews averaging 2 minutes, 17 seconds
The initial reaction to MLB's new expanded replay system has been "overwhelmingly positive," as the first 10 days of the season have helped "provide a snapshot into the ramifications that will be driving the discourse this season and beyond," according to Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com. Braves GM Frank Wren said, "It's doing what we hoped it would do, and that's to reduce the number of missed calls in the game." But he added, "Before we render judgement on the good and bad parts, let's see how it plays out for a while." Through Tuesday, replay was "used a total of 51 times." Of that total, 17 calls "were confirmed, 18 were overturned, 15 were left standing because of the lack of 'clear and convincing' evidence to make a change, and one was used to clarify a record-keeping snafu." Divide the number of games through Tuesday (115) by the number of overturned calls (18), and it "tallies out to one blown call every 6.4 games," which is "right in line with previous figures." The reviews "averaged 2 minutes, 17 seconds," but that number "skews high because of a handful of laborious decisions." Also, the "occasional technical glitch has popped up in the early going." Even if the new system "adds a minute here and there, it will probably be quicker than the manager-umpire spat that it replaced" (ESPN.com, 4/8). But USA TODAY's Paul White writes under the header, "Upon Further Review, Replay A Mixed Bag." Braves President John Schuerholz, the "primary architect of the new system, has predicted as much as three years could be needed to sort through all the nuances." Still, Giants manager Bruce Bochy said, "I think it's gone well. I don't think it's changed the flow of the game" (USA TODAY, 4/10).

TAKE IT OFF THE FIELD: SI’s Joe Sheehan writes through the first week of MLB’s new replay system, “we know two things: Replay works, and it can work much better than this.” There still are “kinks, and the biggest one, aside from the challenge limit,” is that managers “aren’t the ones deciding when to challenge.” There is “no way they can decide without access to video in the dugout, and teams have constructed elaborate games of telephone to connect their ‘replay coordinator’ in a small room inside the stadium with a bench coach in the dugout.” Sheehan: “You can fix these problems with one change: Take the teams out of the process.” MLB has "spent heavily on a review center” in its N.Y. HQs, “tricking it out with dozens of high-definition screens and wiring it to all 30 ballparks.” That room can “just as easily be staffed to instigate reviews, which could be done more quickly than the on-site phone relays that now start the process.” The N.Y. replay center also could “review all the plays in the first six innings, not just one or two” (SI, 4/14 issue).
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