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WATCH: New MLB Replay Rules Put to Test

  • Nicholas Persichilli

Major League Baseball instituted a new replay system for 2014 and today it was put to the test. During today’s Spring Training games, the new replay system was used three times.

Under the new rules, all plays may be shown on stadium scoreboards, regardless if the play has been reviewed or not. This gives managers somewhat of an advantage because they can choose to not challenge a call with an iffy replay.

According to the new rules give each manager one challenge which can be requested at a designated location near home plate. If any part of the challenged play is overturned, the manager is given a bonus second challenge, but he may not challenge more than two plays in a single game. Starting in the seventh inning, the umpire crew chief will have discretion to review any reviewable play that he feels is necessary. Again, the replays can be shown on stadium screens, lessening the chance of needless plays being reviewed.

The following plays are reviewable under the new rules (per

  • Home run
  • Ground rule double
  • Fan interference
  • Stadium boundary calls (e.g., fielder into stands, ball into stands triggering dead ball)
  • Force play (except the fielder’s touching of second base on a double play)
  • Tag play (including steals and pickoffs)
  • Fair/foul in outfield only
  • Trap play in outfield only
  • Batter hit by pitch
  • Timing play (whether a runner scores before a third out)
  • Touching a base (requires appeal)
  • Passing runners
  • Record keeping (Ball-strike count to a batter, outs, score, and substitutions)

The review process is as follows (per

  • Once instant replay review is invoked (either by the Manager or the Crew Chief), the Crew Chief will signal to the official scorer that the play is under review.
  • The Crew Chief and at least one other umpire will then move to a designated communication location near home plate, where they will have access to a hard-wired headset connected to the Replay Command Center in New York.
  • Major League Umpires will be staffed as Replay Officials at the Replay Command Center, located at MLB Advanced Media headquarters, for all Major League games.
  • The Replay Command Center will have direct access to video from most cameras in the ballpark in real-time, regardless of whether they are shown on the live broadcast.
  • The Replay Official will look at the video feeds and determine if there is clear and convincing evidence to overturn the call on the field. If the Replay Official overturns a call on the field, he will also use his judgment to determine where to appropriately place runners if the play had been called correctly on the field.
  • The umpires on the field will not have a monitor to review the play and they will not leave the field at any time.
  • The Replay Official will make the ultimate determination of whether to overturn the call.
  • On-Field personnel may not argue with the decision of the Replay Official.

To keep things fair, both the home and away teams must be equipped with equal technology and neither dugout may have any type of video monitoring system within it. However, both the home and away team can communicate with their respective ‘Replay Specialists’ who have access to the same feed as the umpires to determine whether a play is reviewed or not.

But they announce this stuff in January, you knew all that, right? Thought so. Well today marked a historic day as two Spring Training games implemented the new rules early as a means of testing and training for umpires and equipment alike.

The first replay was used in the bottom of the sixth inning of today’s Twins/Blue Jays game on a play at first base. John Gibbons, Blue Jays manager rushed out from the dugout arguing that Jared Goedert’s foot stayed on the base and the runner, Twins’ outfielder Chris Rahl who was ruled safe, should have been out. The original call was upheld and the review process was pretty quick, especially for it being the first ever replay stemming from a coach’s challenge.

The second replay occurred in the top of the second inning in today’s Diamondbacks/Angels game. Angels’ infielder Luis Jimenez attempted to steal second as part of a hit-and-run, but was tagged out with a quick tag by Diamondbacks’ second baseman Aaron Hill on a wild throw. Angels’ Manager Mike Scioscia quickly came out to invoke his challenge, but there was insufficient evidence to overturn the call.

The third replay today was from the same game as the first. It occurred in the eighth inning on a ball hit to Blue Jays’ shortstop Kevin Nolan in which Twins’ infielder Doug Bernier was called safe. Even though he was out of challenges, Blue Jays’ manager John Gibbons went out to talk to the umpire about the play. Whatever he said was enough for the crew chief to initiate a review of the play. This play was also upheld.

It seems like the umpires have been doing a good job as all three plays reviewed in the test run of sorts had their calls upheld as called on the field.

What do you think of the plays? Check them out here (courtesy of

Nicholas Persichilli
Reading Between the Seams
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Nicholas Persichilli

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