MLB general managers recommend instant replay for first time

Published 10:39 am Wednesday, November 7, 2007

By By RONALD BLUM, AP Baseball Writer
ORLANDO, Fla. — Baseball could soon have a new position: replay judge.
General managers recommended for the first time Tuesday that instant replay be used to help umpires on boundary calls — whether potential home runs are fair or foul, whether balls go over fences or hit the tops and bounce back, and whether fans interfere with possible homers.
The proposal was approved by a 25-5 vote. There was no specific time frame on when such a system might be put in place.
Solomon said the next step will be to speak with commissioner Bud Selig, who opposes the use of replays but said last month he was willing to let GMs examine the issue.
If Selig gives the go-ahead, Solomon and the staff in the commissioner’s office would draft a detailed replay proposal that GMs could vote on when they gather next month at the winter meetings in Nashville, Tenn.
Replay eventually would have to be approved by the unions for players and umpires, and possibly in a vote by owners.
Bob DuPuy, baseball’s chief operating officer, said it would be an ‘‘aggressive time frame’’ to have replay in place next year.
He suggested that it could be tested during spring training or next year’s Arizona Fall League. He also didn’t see a wider use of replay than what GMs recommended.
Television replays can be used for many calls in the NFL. In the NBA, they are often used to determine whether players get shots off before time expires. In the NHL, replays are applied to check whether pucks cross goal lines. In grand slam tennis, replays can be used to ascertain whether balls are in or out.
Solomon likened this to the NHL model. He said the GMs’ technology committee felt that the best method would be to have all video fed to a central location to be judged.
Solomon said if replay couldn’t be put it place for the start of next season, it was possible it could make its debut in the postseason.
Solomon also said that to speed up games, baseball was considering limiting when a hitter could step out of the batter’s box between pitches, restricting the number of times a player could visit the mound, and limiting the number of players allowed to visit the mound.