COOPERSTOWN, N.Y. — Are you ready for more replay?
We’ll find out today if Major League Baseball is, and after years of discussion about expanding the current system, it finally appears like it will happen — and maybe as soon as this year’s playoffs.
Before the owners meetings wrap up today, all 30 teams will be presented with a replay proposal that could involve every phase of the game — except for balls and strikes. Afterward, Bud Selig is expected to make an announcement on the status moving forward, with an eye toward getting approval from the Players Association and umpires union for the 2014 season.
But relying on some part of the system for the upcoming postseason also is being discussed, despite a relatively short period of time to do so. In 2008, Selig implemented instant replay for home-run calls to take effect by late August that same season. In this case, Joe Torre, now an MLB vice president, repeatedly has expressed his concern about a blown call in a playoff game overshadowing the postseason as a whole, and he often cites the controversial Robinson Cano play in Game 2 of last year’s ALCS.
On Wednesday, Torre joined Tony La Russa and Braves president John Schuerholz in giving the proposal to MLB’s executive committee. They didn’t reveal any details, but it is expected to go far beyond the home-run boundary calls currently in place. Also to be determined is who will trigger the replay process — umpires, managers or a third party.
“It was very thoughtful and well done,” Selig said of Wednesday’s presentation. As for today’s upcoming discussion and announcement, the commissioner said only, “It will be a thorough briefing.”
Torre also was unusually tight-lipped when pressed on the subject. Asked if he believed the proposal would go through, Torre replied, “I’m always encouraged — you know that.”
Figuring out how to expand replay has been a long, drawn-out process, with both Selig and Torre worried about extending the length of games — a constant concern for the sport. But after seeing blown calls on almost a nightly basis, and as the voices within the game have yelled louder for more replay, Selig and baseball’s owners have moved closer to a consensus on the subject.
While it’s unclear just how soon this can be put in motion, MLB has talked about the need for additional cameras and video facilities at each ballpark, which won’t happen overnight. MLB already has used Citi Field and Yankee Stadium as testing grounds for expanded replay, so there is a model to follow once it gets the green light, and that could happen as early as Thursday.