Major League Baseball is bringing one of the key benefits of watching games at home to the ballpark.
As part of its expanded use of video replay, which baseball announced today, teams will be allowed to show replays of all plays in the ballpark scoreboard, regardless of whether they are reviewed. Previously, close calls were not shown.
The new system of expanded replay, which will be implemented in the upcoming season, will cover most but not all plays and will continue to exclude balls and strikes.
The changes were approved unanimously by the 30 clubs and also got the OK of the players association and the umpires union.
One of the key modifications from the original proposal is that managers will be limited to no more than two challenges per game. Initially they were going to be given three, but concerns about pace and length of games prompted a reduction. Managers will start with one challenge and will get a second only if the first play they challenged is overturned.
However, from the seventh inning on, the crew chief may opt to request instant replay on any reviewable call. Those include home run and other boundary calls, same as last season. Starting with the 2014 season, they will also include:
Ground rule double
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)
Record keeping (Ball-strike count to a batter, outs, score, and substitutions)
"I am very pleased that instant replay will expand to include additional impactful plays," Commissioner Bud Selig said in a statement. "The new system will give managers valuable recourse in potentially game-changing situations. The opportunity for our fans to see more replays in our ballparks is also an important modification that the Clubs and I favored.''
Managers won't throw a red flag, a rosin bag or any other object on the field to signify a challenge, but rather will tell the crew chief verbally, and they will be able to request review of several portions of a play. However, they must issue the challenge in a timely manner.
Through a hard-wired headset near home plate, the crew chief and at least one other umpire will then contact the replay command center in New York, which is staffed by major league umpires.
After reviewing the video feeds, the replay official will decide whether there is "clear and convincing evidence'' to overturn a call. The replay official will also determine where to place the runners. His decision on all matters is final and cannot be argued.
Managers will be allowed to get some electronic help in deciding whether to challenge a call. Although no monitors will be permitted in the dugout, the manager or one of his coaches will be able to contact a video specialist in the clubhouse who will have access to the same video as the replay official.
Both home and visiting teams will have access to the same technology and video.