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Volume 24 No. 156

Leagues and Governing Bodies

After almost one month of MLB's new instant replay system, there have been "plenty of praises and criticisms" as teams, umpires and the league "continue to search for the best ways to reach accurate calls," according to Eduardo Encina of the Baltimore SUN. Orioles manager Buck Showalter said, "I think when it's all said and done, people will like having it in the game. I think you'll see more things reviewable next year. I think you'll see some more things get tweaked." Encina notes heading into Monday, "172 plays had been reviewed" and nearly 44% (75 calls) had been overturned, while "another 46 have stood or been ruled inconclusive, and 48 were confirmed." Three other calls "fall under the record-keeping category, which involves counts or outs." Orioles C Matt Wieters said, "I think as long as the call is getting right, the team is able to live with the ruling." Former MiLB umpire Adam Gladstone, who is charge of reviewing replays for the Orioles, said, "I think, every day, we continue to use the system, the more we learn how it can serve and benefit getting the calls right. We've used what we've done in the first month as education. It's still such a learning process." Encina notes "a primary complaint from players about the system is that it takes too long and disrupts the pace of the game." Orioles SS J.J. Hardy said, "So far, I don't think it's been run very well because I think it's slowing the game down." Hardy: "They need to get the calls right. They should be able to review them, but this whole thing they're doing just doesn't seem to be working the way I was kind of thinking it would" (Baltimore SUN, 4/29).

VIEW FROM ABOVE: In St. Louis, Rick Hummel wrote the "initial furor" over replay "seems to have subsided." MLB Special On-Field Committee member Tony La Russa, one of the architects of the system, said he thinks it has been “remarkably effective,” but noted there have been “occasional hiccups.” La Russa also "lauded the umpires who were taking their weeklong tours in reviewing plays" in the N.Y. command post. Hummel noted through the first three and a half weeks of the season, the "average time between challenge filed and result received" was 1 minute, 58 seconds (01:58), or "less than a commercial break between innings." MLB Commissioner Bud Selig said that he considered the results thus far “amazing." Selig: “I don’t think we had a right to expect it to be this good this fast. I watch a lot of NFL games and (officials) make mistakes all day long and nobody says a word about it. All of a sudden, we put in a new system and it becomes a big deal. I think it’s phenomenal and it will get better and I’m a guy who three or four years ago wasn’t crazy about it" (ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH, 4/27).

EYE IN THE SKY: In Cincinnati, Paul Daugherty writes under the header, “If MLB Replay Isn’t Perfect, What Good Is It?” The umpires on Sunday “missed a call” when Reds P Johnny Cueto picked off Braves CF B.J. Upton at first base. A photo "caught the moment, and reinforced it: Upton was out.” Daugherty: “Was the guy in New York minding the TV screens wearing a Braves cap?” (CINCINNATI ENQUIRER, 4/29).