Wednesday night at Scottsdale Stadium, we witnessed more MLB history as the first-ever overturning of an umpire's ruling via replay occurred (that is, the first not involving a home run, as that system has been in place since 2008).
I think it's worked quite well so far, and so do MLB executives:
"It looked like it went off smoothly," said Torre, MLB's executive vice president of baseball operations, of the first two trial games to test the process and technology of the proposed replay system. "The Commissioner [Bud Selig] has wanted this for a couple of years, but we certainly didn't want to go knee-jerk on it. "We wanted to make sure to do something that wasn't going to affect the rhythm of the game. [Tuesday] night looked good," Torre said of expanded replay's debut game. Wednesday night's encore game, between the visiting Salt River Rafters and the Scottsdale Scorpions, looked more complex. Though all four calls challenged in the Tuesday game were upheld, the first two on Wednesday -- and three of seven total -- were overturned upon review.
Given the fact that seven plays were challenged in the Wednesday game and that none took too long to review and the game wasn't slowed down too much, it would seem logical to let this many reviews occur. Joe Torre concurs:
Torre revealed that the previously reported quota of challenges -- one within the first six innings, two thereafter -- is not a sure thing. MLB may want to protect managers against their own impetuousness. "If a manager loses his challenges," Torre said, "we don't want a game to be decided on a play that can't be challenged."
In my view, that's the right way to look at this. Get the calls right, all of them. That's the key to making any replay-review system work. I'm glad they're having these televised tests so that we can see the process unfold.