Many who follow and cover baseball have been clamoring for it for years, and now it's about to come to the Arizona Fall League first.
Major League Baseball announced that new review procedures for expanded instant replay will be tested during five upcoming Arizona Fall League games. The five contests will be televised on MLB Network next Tuesday (Nov. 5) through Saturday (Nov. 9).
The experiment is meant to give a run of the replay methods currently being studied by MLB for potential use in 2014. Atlanta Braves president John Schuerholz and former managers and MLB execs Joe Torre and Tony La Russa are heading that effort.
"The opportunity to test our ideas under game conditions with future Major Leaguers will be an important next step," Schuerholz said in a statement. "We look forward to examining new perspectives generated by play on the field and learning what modifications might prove beneficial before our committee issues our formal recommendation later this offseason."
The big potential change under the proposed methods would allow one manager challenge for each side through the first six innings of a game and two more from the seventh frame until the end of the contest. If a challenge results in a call being overturned, the manager keeps the challenge, although challenges do not carry over from the first six innings. All reviews would be done by off-site umpires at MLB Advanced Media's facilities in New York and would be communicated back to the in-park umpires. The goal of this process is to cut down delays due to replays.
"Now our replays take three minutes and four seconds on average," Schuerholz said in August when the replay plans were first announced. "And we expect now that [future] replays will take a minute [and] 15 [seconds]."
After this plan has been tested in AFL action, Major League owners are expected to vote on the institution of the new rules at their next meeting in Orlando, Fla. Later this month. Upon finalization, it will be need to be approved by the Major League Baseball Players Association and World Umpires Association as well.
The Arizona Fall League regular season concludes on Nov. 14.