Major League Baseball appears set for a vast expansion of video review by umpires in 2014 and is examining whether all calls other than balls and strikes should be subject to instant replay. The current replay system has been in place for home run calls since August 2008.
Commissioner Bud Selig initially wanted to add trap plays and fair/foul calls down the lines for 2013, but change was put off while more radical options were examined.
In tests last year at New York’s Yankee Stadium and Citi Field, MLB experimented with the Hawk-Eye animation system that is used to judge line calls in tennis and the TrackMan radar software used by the PGA Tour.
While initially assigned to a large “special committee for on-field matters” that Selig established in 2009, replay recommendations will now come from a subcommittee of three: MLB executive vice president Joe Torre, former St. Louis manager Tony La Russa and Atlanta president John Schuerholz, who is chairing the group.
The group is examining whether to have replay officials in booths at ballparks or at a central location, and whether to have umpires wear headsets, as soccer officials do. Torre is against giving managers a challenge system, as NFL coaches have, but says opinion on the matter is split.
“Managers have to make enough decisions,” he said. “We’ve tried to stay away from technology telling us what to do.”
The NFL, NBA, NHL, some NCAA sports and major tennis tournaments all use a form of replay, and even FIFA and the English Premier have adopted goal-line technology.
Seattle’s Eric Wedge opposes a challenge system, maintaining: “I’m in favor of the human element.”
Torre hopes to have proposals by the Aug. 14-15 session in Cooperstown.
Clearing the bases
Oakland has activated outfielder Chris Young (strained left quad) from the disabled list. … Houston activated second baseman Jose Altuve from the bereavement list after missing three games to attend his grandmother’s funeral in Venezuela. … Baltimore purchased the contract of right-hander Jair Jurrjens from Triple-A Norfolk. … The New York Yankees have acquired infielder Reid Brignac from the Colorado Rockies for cash. … Atlanta placed left-hander Eric O’Flaherty on the 15-day disabled list with a left elbow strain and called up right-hander Cory Rasmus from Triple-A Gwinnett.