Rangers general manager Jon Daniels and manager Ron Washington were impressed after meeting with major league officials on plans to incorporate replay this season.
Daniels and Washington, along with other Rangers officials met with Joe Torre, Tony La Russa and Peter Woodfork on Wednesday to learn how the replay system will be implemented.
“Overall, I think it’s a very common sense approach to it,” Daniels said. “They kind of laid out their objectives, which is to improve the accuracy of the calls, and specifically, the most impactful calls. It will not negatively impact the flow of the game.”
Managers are allowed to challenge once through the first six innings. If his challenge is successful, he gets another challenge in the first six innings. There is a maximum of two challenges. Umpires will decide whether to review a play in the final three innings. Home runs, ground-rule doubles, fan interference and hit by pitches are some of the plays that will be up for challenges.
“I thought it was awesome,” Washington said. “I think it’s going to workout. It’s not as difficult as it sounds. As a manager you’ve just got to be careful how you use your challenges.”
The league will use a dedicated replay center at league offices in New York City to monitor each game live. Each game will be monitored by an umpire and replay technician, Daniels said, so that if a controversial play occurs, they’ll already be reviewing it and ready to make a judgment if there’s a challenge on the field. Each park will have direct phone lines to both dugouts from the video coordinator.
“The final decision will be made in New York and relayed back,” Daniels said. “They’re watching the game, so from a pace-of-the-game deal, I think it makes a lot of sense. They’ll know, alright, here is a close play let’s start watching it. They’ll already have a head start and be ready.”
The umpire calling the game won’t leave the field. He’ll have a headset near home plate where he’ll get the verdict from the umpire in New York.
The Rangers will test the system during six spring training games, but without the “Hawkeye” camera technology, which is the same used in tennis. The first test will come March 4 at Tempe, Ariz.
Each stadium will have a camera trained on the diamond to help detect, for instance, whether a runner left base early on a sacrifice.
Fans will also get a chance to see the same replays of the play in question during a challenge. In the past, stadiums did not show controversial replays as a courtesy to the umpiring crew.
“In the past, everyone at home, everyone in the suites and in the tunnel or clubhouse could see the replay except the 40,000 in the stadium that paid to be there,” Daniels said. “Now they’ve fixed that. We can show it to our fans in the stadium. We’re trying to improve the in-game experience and encourage fans to come to the park, why shouldn’t they have access to the best angles?”