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Friday, Jun 22, 2018
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Rays players divided on new replay system

PORT CHARLOTTE - Rays third baseman Evan Longoria believes Major League Baseball is ready for expanded replay. Infielder Sean Rodriguez thinks it goes against the natural order of the game.

Rays pitcher Chris Archer is pro instant replay. His teammate Matt Moore is not.

Opinions are divided among players and fans, but this much is certain: The use of replay to review an umpire's call will be expanded this season to include more than just the home runs and boundary calls that were reviewed when replay was first implemented near the end of the 2008 season.

"If that information is there, it makes sense to use it," Longoria said.

Countered Moore: "Not everything is a layup. Not everything is going to go your way. Stuff happens. I think being able to overcome that adversity is part of the story, in my opinion."

Joe Torre, Major League Baseball's executive vice president of baseball operations, met Sunday with Rays manager Joe Maddon, Boston's John Farrell, Minnesota's Ron Gardenhire, Baltimore's Buck Showalter and Pittsburgh's Clint Hurdle for three hours at Charlotte Sports Park to review the expanded use of the system.

Each manager will receive one challenge per game. He will receive a second challenge if his first challenge is successful. Umpires can initiate challenges beginning in the seventh inning through the end of the game. Managers who still have a challenge after the sixth inning can also use that challenge.

Calls that cannot be challenged are balls and strikes, check swings, traps in the infield, the neighborhood play at second base and players tagging up to advance a base.

Umpires can use replay to determine if the runner violated the new rule governing home plate collisions, which Torre said will be announced today.

"The umpires are all in on this," Torre said.

The system will be tested during spring training. The Rays are tentatively scheduled to play six games this spring during which replay will be available, beginning with their March 7 game in Dunedin against the Blue Jays.

"I'm all for it right now," Maddon said. "I think it's a good idea, obviously. Technology, had it been available back in the '40s I'm sure Mr. (Branch) Rickey (the former Dodgers owner) would have pushed for it, but it wasn't available at that time. You've got to go with what's going on right now."

Major League Baseball hired two additional umpire crews this season and will rotate two crews through MLB's Baseball Advance Media office in New York. One umpire will be charged with monitoring two games.

They will have access to all the TV cameras used during the game. Both teams will have access to the same camera feeds. Managers will be alerted by team personnel watching the game in the clubhouse if a play needs to be reviewed if the manager hasn't already decided himself to use a challenge.

The manager will alert the umpire who made the call. That umpire and the crew chief will go to an area near home plate, where the crew chief will be given a headset to communicate with the umpire in New York.

"They're going to be told, overturn it, and if it's placing runners, this guy goes here, this guy goes there," Torre said. "We're going to have a high home camera that's been installed in every ballpark so they can see where the runners are."

Torre estimates it will take between 60 and 90 seconds to resolve a challenge.

It sounds simple, but as fans have learned from years of watching plays reviewed in football, it is not.

"It took us thousands of hours at least to get to where we are right now," Torre said. "Initially when we started this thing we said, 'What can be so tough look looking at a TV screen and coming up with an answer?' "

The answer: A lot.

"The game is so unpredictable," Torre said. "It's unlike any other sport, especially with the fact that we want to limit this, because we don't have timeouts as a part of our game. We have in between innings, but we don't want to upset the rhythm where nobody wants to watch this thing. We want to get to the point where we get the game-changing call right and we'll see where we go."

Torre said tweaks or changes can be made to the system over the course of the season.

"Based on their statistical analysis, the plays that are going to be the most challenged are going to be force plays and tag plays, like a really high percentage of them, which is pretty much normal," Maddon said. "That's what we always argue anyway, but now we have a chance to have one overturned if you're right based on technology."


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