REPORT: Major League Baseball approves expansion of instant replay


Mar 14, 2013; Clearwater Beach, FL, USA; A detail of a major league baseball at Clearwater Beach. Spring Training for MLB is held throughout the Florida from early February to late March annually. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

Major League Baseball took a huge step today, announcing the league has approved the expansion of instant replay starting in 2014. This is definitely going to change the game and will be huge from here on out.

The replay system isn’t that much different compared to every other sport that has instant replay. I can’t think of one sport that doesn’t have this system. I believe swimming even has instant replay. The real question is: “How was baseball the last sport to have it approved?”

Regardless, during the seventh inning and beyond the crew chief can request instant replay on any reviewable call. The only thing that cannot be called during games with instant replay are balls and strikes, which makes sense, given the length of a game would grow exponentially if that were the case.

Now this was approved by all 30 teams in the league and was given the green light by the Major League Baseball Players Association (MLBPA). But I’m sure some fans are going to disapprove with the decision to bring extended instant replay to professional baseball.

Some could fear that the games would drag on longer, when they already last around two and a half to three hours long. That’s if it doesn’t go into extra innings. I honestly think this is a brilliant idea.

It may slow things down just a tad, but I don’t know how many plays or calls were blown. This could come in handy when it comes to teams trying to get into the post-season and get robbed of a double down the line if someone on the crew says the ball didn’t hit the chalk.

Replay will cover most plays, but not every play.

There are plenty of scenarios we can throw out for you that could really benefit instant replay. I’m sure now that it’s passed, we’ll see a lot of early examples.

But here are a couple of things that are reviewable when Opening Day rolls around.

  • Ground rule double
  • Fan interference
  • Force play (except the fielder’s touching of second base on a double play)
  • Tag play (including steals and pick-offs)
  • Fair/foul in outfield only
  • Trap play in outfield only
  • Batter hit by pitch
  • Timing play (whether a runner scores before a third out)
  • Passing runners
  • Record keeping (ball-strike count to a batter, outs, score, and substitutions)

Replays will be shown for the crowd to see on any LED/JumboTron screen in or around the ballpark. Nothing has changed when it comes to instant replay for home runs.

And there will be no challenge flag or anything special that they have to throw. All the skippers have to do is approach the crew chief and at least one other umpire who will contact someone back in New York.

The crew chief of the game will have some sort of wired headset near home plate, just like refs for the National Football League and National Basketball Association do.

So it’s safe to say that Major League Baseball will end up having their very own Mike Pereira. Every decision made by the umpire after he’s reviewed the footage is final and cannot be argued. If managers do argue, then you know what happens next.

Hit the showers.

Managers and or coaches will be able to contact someone on a bullpen phone who can take a look at the video to see if it’s worth taking a look at something.

So what do you think baseball fans, do you approve or disapprove of the leagues decision to expand instant replay? Sound off in the comment section below. Really looking forward to reading your opinions on this huge topic that will undoubtedly change the game we all know and love.