As the idea for a Coach’s Challenge in the NHL starts to pick up steam, another major professional league is jumping on board.
Major League Baseball announced today that they’ll be implementing a Manager’s Challenge for the upcoming season. The MLB Players Association, umpires union, and team owners all agreed on the change earlier today at the annual owners’ meetings in Arizona.
Managers will have at least one challenge to use. If any portion of a challenged play is overturned, then the manager who challenged the play will retain the ability to challenge one more play during the game. No manager may challenge more than two plays in a game. Once the manager has exhausted his ability to challenge plays during the game and after the beginning of the seventh inning, the Crew Chief may choose to invoke instant replay on any reviewable call. Home run and other boundary calls will remain reviewable under the procedures in place last season.
Just like the NHL’s system, once they go to a replay, it’s out of the umpires’ hands. The Replay Command Center, located at MLB HQ in New York and staffed by Major League Umpires, will make the ultimate determination.
There’s a pretty inclusive list of what can be reviewed (from MLB.com), including home runs, ground rule doubles, fan interference, stadium boundary calls (fielder/ball into stands), force plays, tag plays, fair/foul in outfield only, trap plays in outfield only, batters hit by pitch, timing plays (whether a runner scores before a third out), passing runners, and record-keeping issues (ball/strike count, substitutions)
Managers get one challenge to use. If the decision is overturned, they get their challenge back. Managers cannot challenge more than two plays in a game. After the sixth inning, the umpire crew chief can also initiate a review, if necessary.
Unfortunately, to initiate a challenge, all baseball managers have do to is ask. Unlike football, there’s no flag to be thrown.
How disappointing. I was really hoping the official signal to request a replay would be to kick dirt on the umpire. Always a classic.