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Instant replay unanimously approved by Major League teams

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Major League Baseball today announced that all 30 teams have voted to approve expanded use of instant replay.

With the MLB Players Association and the World Umpires Association on board, the new policy will go into effect at the start of the 2014 season.

"I am very pleased that instant replay will expand to include additional impactful plays," Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig said in a statement. "The new system will give managers valuable recourse in potentially game-changing situations…I thank the Major League Players and Umpires for their cooperation with this change, which will serve our shared game well.”

Teams will also be allowed to show all replays on stadium scoreboards, whether the play is reviewed or not. Selig applauded the move.

“The opportunity for our fans to see more replays in our ballparks is also an important modification that the Clubs and I favored,” he said.

A designated communication location will be established at all 30 Major League stadiums at which the Crew Chief and at least one additional MLB umpire will have access to the Replay Command Center in New York. Big league umpires will be staffed at the Replay Command Center and will make the final call based on clear and convincing evidence.

Instant replay will be used during televised Spring Training games to prepare on-field personnel for the implementation of the new rules for the regular season.

Other protocols of the new system for instant replay are as follows:

PLAY TYPES

The following play types will be subject to review:

· Home run

· Ground rule double

· Fan interference

· Stadium boundary calls (e.g., fielder into stands, ball into stands triggering dead ball)

· Force play (except the fielder's touching of second base on a double play)

· Tag play (including steals and pickoffs)

· Fair/foul in outfield only

· Trap play in outfield only

· Batter hit by pitch

· Timing play (whether a runner scores before a third out)

· Touching a base (requires appeal)

· Passing runners

· Record keeping (Ball-strike count to a batter, outs, score, and substitutions)

All other plays will not be reviewable; however, the Umpires may still convene on the field at any time to discuss the play.

INITIATION OF INSTANT REPLAY

· Field managers may initiate replay review on one reviewable play per game by verbally indicating his intention to challenge, in a timely manner, to the Crew Chief. Guidelines will be established to determine whether a challenge is timely.

· The manager may request that the umpire review multiple portions of the same play, but he must specify exactly which portions of the play he is challenging.

· If any portion of a challenged play is overturned, the manager who challenged the play will retain the ability to challenge one more play during the game. No manager may challenge more than two plays in a game.

· Once the manager has exhausted his ability to challenge plays during the game and after the beginning of the seventh inning, the Crew Chief may choose to invoke instant replay on any reviewable call. In that circumstance, the Crew Chief is not obligated to invoke instant replay if requested by the manager.

· Home run calls that are currently subject to instant replay review will continue to be reviewed at the Crew Chief's discretion. Managers may request that an Umpire review a home run call, but managers cannot challenge home run calls.

REVIEW PROCESS

· Once instant replay review is invoked (either by the Manager or the Crew Chief), the Crew Chief will signal to the official scorer that the play is under review.

· The Crew Chief and at least one other umpire will then move to a designated communication location near home plate, where they will have access to a hard-wired headset connected to the Replay Command Center in New York.

· Major League Umpires will be staffed as Replay Officials at the Replay Command Center, located at MLB Advanced Media headquarters, for all Major League games.

· The Replay Command Center will have direct access to video from most cameras in the ballpark in real-time, regardless of whether they are shown on the live broadcast.

· The Replay Official will look at the video feeds and determine if there is clear and convincing evidence to overturn the call on the field. If the Replay Official overturns a call on the field, he will also use his judgment to determine where to appropriately place runners if the play had been called correctly on the field.

· The umpires on the field will not have a monitor to review the play and they will not leave the field at any time.

· The Replay Official will make the ultimate determination of whether to overturn the call.

· On-Field personnel may not argue with the decision of the Replay Official.

CLUB ACCESS TO VIDEO

· To determine whether to challenge a play, personnel in the dugout will be permitted to communicate with a video specialist in the Clubhouse who has access to the same video that is available to Replay Officials. This communication will occur via the dugout phone.

· Both the home and visiting Clubs will have standardized technology to ensure each Club has equal access to all video.

· No monitors or additional electronic equipment will be permitted in the dugout.

SCOREBOARD REPLAYS

· Clubs will now have the right to show replays of all close plays on its ballpark scoreboard, regardless of whether the play is reviewed.

If you're a fan of the game, you'll want to visit Baseball Hall of Fame page on Facebook to offer your opinions and talk baseball. While you’re there, hit the “Like” button so you can receive updates.

As always, Jim Smiley encourages your email comments.

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