Baseball Gives Managers Right to Challenge Calls Via Replays

Major League Baseball umpires will be under more scrutiny than ever this year after team owners unanimously approved to expand video-replay rules.

From next season, challenges by managers will be allowed, along with reviews of incidents including tags and whether players were hit by a pitch.

Managers will get one challenge, and another if the appeal is successful, MLB said in a news release yesterday. After the seventh inning, umpire crew chiefs also may order a play review, while home run and boundary calls will remain reviewable under procedures that were used last season.

“The new system will give managers valuable recourse in potentially game-changing situations,” baseball Commissioner Bud Selig said in the statement.

As part of MLB’s agreement with its players’ union and the World Umpires Association, teams will be allowed to show all replays on their stadium scoreboards, regardless of whether the play is reviewed.

“The opportunity for our fans to see more replays in our ballparks is also an important modification that the clubs and I favored,” Selig said.

The play types that will be subject to review are: home runs; ground-rule doubles; fan interference; stadium boundary calls; force plays, except the fielder’s touching of second base on a double play; tag plays, including pickoffs and steals; fair/foul and trap plays in the outfield; batters hit by pitch; whether a runner scores before a third out; touching a base, such as while a runner rounds third; passing runners; and record-keeping of items such as balls and strikes, outs, score and substitutions.

Major-league umpires will be staffed as replay officials at MLB Advanced Media headquarters in New York, making the final determination on whether to overturn calls before relaying that decision to the on-site umpires.

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