Written By: Alex Slade
“Phase Two of Major League Baseball’s extended instant-replay rollout hasn’t yet been finalized”, MLB executive vice president of baseball operations Joe Torre said at the General Managers meetings on Wednesday. But one change has been determined for sure: We won’t be seeing any more of those manager walks out of the dugout to waste time and wait for the signal to challenge or not, and trust me they will not be missed!
Joe Torre was pleased with the first season of baseball’s replay challenge system, even if teams were not always sure what could be reviewed.
“A successful first season in the books”, but MLB might look at tweaking replay challenges to prevent managers from stalling in the middle of the diamond while someone on the bench signals whether a call should be contested.
”When we first talked about challenges, if you got out of the dugout you couldn’t challenge, but I didn’t want to take away from the fact that the manager could run out there and argue,” Torre said Wednesday at the general managers’ meetings.
”I didn’t really plan on them meandering out there and having a conversation, but you live and you learn,” the Hall of Fame manager said.
MLB instituted a new replay system allowing a manager one challenge per game, another if that one is successful. Reviewable plays covered everything from force and tag plays to fan interference and home runs.
Though the new system was occasionally criticized for making long games even longer, most managers and players were pleased with the system – they just wanted the correct calls to be made.
But because a lot of the plays happen so quickly, managers would routinely go out to discuss a call on any close play to give their own video people time to run back the play. Some got carried away, lingering on the field, pretending to discuss the call with the umpires while awaiting word from the dugout whether to challenge the play or not.
The MLB is trying to cut down on the length of games, not add to them, so Torre said the rules committee has discussed ways to prevent that from happening.
”That’s one area we’ll do something differently,” he said. ”I’m not sure what that is, but certainly we will eliminate some of that standing around because 10 seconds is a long time in our game.”
The length of games has been an issue in baseball for years and MLB is looking at way to speed up the game.
Baseball has been experimenting with pitch clocks in the Arizona Fall League which you can learn about here. (Arizona Fall League Introduces “Pace Of Play” Clocks.)
Some players in the league have complained about feeling rushed, but the games have been quicker, so MLB will take a look at possibly implementing some elements of the pace-of-play measures.
The MLB may also tweak the blocking-the-plate rule. The measure seems to have cut down on collisions and injuries, but has led to confusion on exactly what’s allowed.
MLB clarified the rule late in the season, saying umpires should not call runners safe on a blocking call if the ball clearly beats them.
”Right now, we’re going to discuss in the rules committee and, along with the players’ association, see if we can make it a little clearer,” Torre said.