(CBS) As spring training games get started this week in Florida and Arizona, with them will come the use of expanded instant replay, which was ratified in January for this coming MLB season. Each team will have five spring training games in which replay will be available to use, giving organizations a chance to figure out how to best utilize the system before the regular season gets started.
As a refresher, here’s the basic rules for expanded replay review for the regular season that allow managers to challenge calls:
1. Each manager gets one challenge to use in the first six innings. If a manager successfully challenges a call in the first six innings, he will get another challenge to use in the first six innings. No third challenge will be issued.
2. Umpires will decide when calls need to be reviewed in the seventh inning and thereafter.
3. The new system allows for the reviews of homers, ground-rule doubles, fan interference, boundary calls, most force plays, tag plays, fair or foul calls in the outfield, outfielders trapping the ball, hit by pitches, timing plays (whether a runner scores before a third out), touching a base, passing runners and record keeping, according to the New York Daily News.
4. Balls hopping over first or third base that require a fair-or-foul ruling can’t be challenged.
5. A member of each team’s video staff can communicate his opinion of a call to his team’s dugout. Each team will have access to the same video feeds for review in any given ballpark. There will be a phone connecting the video room and dugout.
Now the fun part, which the St. Louis Post-Dispatch explained well in a recent article. When a manager heads out to argue a call, he will sometimes do so without yet knowing whether to challenge a call. As he argues to buy time, the manager will have to try to “turn the ump” in a direction such that the manager can see his own dugout and get the signal of whether to challenge a call.
From the Post-Dispatch:
“When he goes out to argue a disputed call, (Cardinals manager Mike) Matheny may not know if it will be an official challenge, so he’ll have to position himself where he can see the dugout while talking to the umpire. (The bench coach) then can remove his hat if the video room says he should challenge or give thumbs up or thumbs down. If the video room says the call was right, Matheny can shift from arguing to complimenting the umpire and return without using a challenge.”