Tuesday September 16, 2014

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Major League Baseball considering wider expansion of instant replay

INDIAN WELLS, Calif. - Baseball is considering a broader expansion of video review for umpires than first discussed.

Instant replay in baseball began in August 2008 and has been limited to checking whether potential home runs were fair or cleared over fences. Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig has been saying since early 2011 he wants to expand it to two additional types of calls.

"He was talking about really basically fair-foul, trap plays. But we're looking into more than that," Joe Torre, MLB's executive vice-president for baseball operations, said Wednesday at the general managers' meetings.

Torre did not detail what types of calls a broader expansion might include.

During tests late this year at 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.

"We still have some questions on the way it is now, if that's going to fit with baseball," Torre said. "I'm not saying it can't be adjusted or they can do something would make it work for our game."

He pointed out tennis courts are smaller than baseball fields.

"It's easier to cover as opposed to what we have," he said.

Depending on what baseball decides, changes might have to be negotiated with the umpires' and players' unions.

Selig has said he hopes to have wider replay in 2013.

"I know what the commissioner said, that he expects it to be done, but again, he relies on us," Torre said of the staff.

New York Yankees manager Joe Girardi called for wider use of replay after second base umpire Jeff Nelson blew a call at second base in Game 2 of the AL championship series, leading to an argument and Girardi's ejection. Nelson admitted he blew the call on the play, which should have ended the eighth inning before Detroit expanded its lead from one run to three. The Tigers won 3-0 and swept the Yankees before getting swept by San Francisco in the World Series.

"Too much is at stake. We play 235 days to get to this point," Girardi said. "In this day and age when we have instant replay available to us, it's got to change. I have been thrown out of games enough to know it would be quicker to get the call right or wrong or right on replay than for me to go out there and argue."


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