Major League Baseball's New Plans For Instant Replay Progressing

Baseball Considers Home Plate Collisions

Wednesday, November 13, 2013
Joe Torre
Joe Torre
- photo by Tim Evearitt

ORLANDO, Fla. -- Expanded instant replay remains on track to be implemented in time for the 2014 season even though several details remain to be ironed out, Joe Torre, Major League Baseball's executive vice president of baseball operations, said on Tuesday. There is also growing support for a rules change regarding home-plate collisions.

Torre made the comments on the second day of the annual General Managers Meetings at the JW Marriott Grande Lakes.

He was on the committee -- along with Braves president John Schuerholz and former big league manager Tony La Russa -- that was formed to suggest changes to the replay system. Torre also sits on the Rules Committee, which will have informal discussions on Wednesday before meeting again at the Winter Meetings next month.

Torre said he didn't know whether there will be a vote on instant replay during the Owners Meetings, which will be held on Wednesday and Thursday at the same hotel, or whether that will come when the owners next get together in Phoenix in January.

The replay system was tested last week in Arizona Fall League games, and Torre termed the results "very promising."

Under the current system, replay is used only for boundary calls involving home runs. The new plan will allow an appeal of most disputed plays. A review will be initiated when a manager informs an umpire that he wants to challenge a play. Each manager will be allowed one challenge in the first six innings and two more from the seventh through the end of the game.

If he wins his appeal, a manager retains the challenge. The challenge from the first six innings does not carry over, and managers cannot argue reviewable calls. If a manager enters the field to argue, he must challenge.

Before changes can be made, both the Major League Baseball Players Association and the World Umpires Association must sign off on the plan. Torre said there have been ongoing negotiations with both groups.

No decision has been made regarding how many umpires will be stationed at MLB Advanced Media's New York office to review the video and make the final call on disputed plays, but Torre said this system is preferable to adding a fifth umpire on site to create a rotation where one could review plays in the pressbox each game.

It also remains to be seen how extensively the system will be employed during Spring Training and what sort of time limit, if any, will exist be before a play can be challenged.

The first calls for changing the rules regarding home-plate collisions came from Giants manager Bruce Bochy after San Francisco catcher Buster Posey suffered a broken left ankle in a home plate collision on May 25, 2011. Cardinals manager Mike Matheny, whose playing career was cut short by a series of concussions, has also called for revisions.

That sentiment is starting to gain traction. Torre said it's not impossible that new rules protecting both catchers and baserunners could be in place for next season, but he admitted that at this point, the plan has few particulars. Torre will meet with Bochy and Matheny at the Winter Meetings -- set for Dec. 9-12 in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. -- and will also solicit opinions from any other baseball people who have ideas to offer.

"There are a lot of layers to go through, but I think there are a lot of people who are concerned, obviously, with the health of the catchers and, as I said, baserunners. So I think there's a possibility it could happen [by 2014]."

Like many issues, this becomes more complex the closer it's studied. For example, there's a rule in college baseball forcing baserunners to slide into home plate instead of barreling in headfirst in an attempt to jar the ball loose. That may not be the answer, Torre suggested.

"In being a catcher, if you have the ball early enough, you don't have a collision because that runner has to commit himself far earlier than you have to commit yourself," Torre said. "To me, [in the case of] a catcher with the ball in plenty of time, can you say he has to slide? But it's a little tough to do that based on the fact that the runner makes up his mind before, and then you're trying to stop yourself from sliding or running into him and you wind up hurting yourself.

"Then somebody also threw out there, 'What happens when the pitcher has to go cover home plate with a passed ball or a wild pitch?' He could be in danger, too, because you could definitely slide in and hurt somebody."

Despite the difficulties, Torre made it clear that something will have to be done.

One rule that's unlikely to change is obstruction, even though it received a lot of attention when Red Sox third baseman Will Middlebrooks was called for obstructing Cardinals baserunner Allen Craig during Game 3 of last month's World Series, allowing the winning run to score in the bottom of the ninth.

---- Source: MLB.com


McCallie Takes On MBA In Division II Soccer Semifinals

The McCallie Blue Tornado soccer team will take on MBA Wednesday afternoon in Murfreesboro for a spot in the state championship game.  The semifinal game against MBA is set to kick off at 4 p.m. CST at Richard Siegel Soccer Complex.   McCallie hosted MBA on April 29 and the two teams played to a 2-2 tie in the regular season.   In the other semifinals, Father ... (click for more)

Dalton State Men Tied For 7th At NAIA Golf Championships

Dalton State is tied for 7th place after the first round of the 65th annual National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics Men’s Golf Championship tournament on the first hole at the 7,066 yards, par-71 TPC at Deere Run. The Roadrunners shot a 15 over par 299 on Tuesday. Chase Jones led DS with a two-under, 69. Austin Hughes shot a 75, Levi Nix tallied a 77, Sean Elliott ... (click for more)

Sources Say Domestic Incident Involving Mayor's Aide Came After Husband Confronted Her And Mayor Behind Restaurant; Mayor Says Charge "Absolutely False"

A domestic disorder involving a top female aide to Mayor Andy Berke was sparked after her husband recently confronted the aide and the mayor in a parked car behind a Mexican restaurant, several sources said.   A spokesperson for Mayor Andy Berke said, "Last weekend a member of my senior staff was the victim of a domestic assault involving her husband. Upon being arrested ... (click for more)

Roommate Of Chance LeCroy Describes Sept. 9, 2010 Murder

The roommate of Chance LeCroy told a Criminal Court jury on Tuesday of the terrifying day that robbers burst into their residence and killed the 21-year-old LeCroy. Patrick Carmody, one of three men charged in the slaying, is standing trial in the courtroom of Judge Barry Steelman. Also charged were Ronald Lee Pittman and Billy Bob Parton. Carmody pleaded not guilty to ... (click for more)

Colonel Enicks Is Turning Out Leaders At Red Bank High School

I am a former teacher and football coach at Red Bank High School. I have been a witness to the great things that happen at Red Bank High School.  The teaching staff has a great mixture of experience and promising new teachers.   Dr. Robertson, the principal, is a great man and a wonderful role model for students. He shows up the same way every day and his consistency ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Christian Schools Bully, Too

Earlier this week, after I shared a story about bullying written by a very brave mother, it opened a floodgate of emails from parents and students who have been forced to endure such madness in our elementary, junior and senior high schools. Discipline is the No. 1 problem in our schools. Because of it, or because of a lack of it, no wonder our children cannot achieve all that ... (click for more)