ARLINGTON — Major League Baseball intends to expand replay next season, and Texas Rangers manager Ron Washington and general manager Jon Daniels are in favor of it.But a few players had mixed feelings on it, and they make up one entity that could stop the proposed changes.Closer Joe Nathan considers himself more of a traditionalist when it comes to the game, and feels that human error is part of it. He also expressed concerns regarding replay lengthening the game.“I’d like for them to get the calls right, but I also like the fact of human error involved in this game,” Nathan said. “It’s always been a part of it. And if replay lengthens our games, I don’t want it.“Depending on how they implement this, right now we’re already playing games until 11 p.m. that start at 7 p.m., so we’ll see.”MLB officials were enthusiastic about the announcement of proposed changes the final day of the owners’ meetings Thursday in Cooperstown, N.Y.Commissioner Bud Selig called it a historic day, and complimented the work of the replay subcommittee led by MLB executive vice president Joe Torre.Under the proposal, managers would be granted three challenges similar to the format used by the NFL. They would be allowed to use one challenge the first six innings and two from the seventh inning to the end of the game. The challenged calls would be reviewed by a crew in MLB offices in New York City, and the process is expected to take about 75 seconds. Successful challenges wouldn’t count against managers and would remain available for later use.Most plays would be reviewable, although the list hasn’t been finalized. Balls and strikes and a disputed hit by pitch, for instance, would not be reviewable. The home run replay rules in place today would remain.Asked if he felt three challenges a game was enough, Washington said: “Well, we don’t have any, so to get three? Hooray.”Washington said he would have to rely on his first- and third-base coaches to watch close calls, and they would help determine whether he would challenge the call.As for players’ perspectives, Washington said he would have to take that judgment out of their hands. Most players feel the call should go in their favor, Washington said, although outfielders can advise him if they caught or trapped a ball on a diving catch.Daniels called it a big step for baseball, and is pleased about MLB’s intentions to use available technology.“The bottom line is just trying to get the calls right,” Daniels said. “Regarding the mechanics, those things could be trial and error and figured out over time. But I think it’s a great thing for the industry to take this step.”It’s worth noting that these changes have only been proposed and not approved yet. A 75 percent vote by the owners at their next meeting in November is needed, as well as approval by the players’ and umpires’ associations.
Drew Davison, 817-390-7760 Twitter: @drewdavison