Ever since the game was invented, before television or even radio existed, baseball counted on the eyes and ears of umpires on the field. Starting this season, many key decisions will be made in a studio far away.
Major League Baseball vaulted into the 21st century of technology on Thursday, approving a huge expansion of instant replay in hopes of eliminating blown calls that riled up players, managers and fans.
“I think it’s great,” San Francisco Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. “It’s about getting it right.”
Acknowledging the human element had been overtaken in an era when everyone except the umps could see several views over and over in slow-motion, owners and players and umpires OKed the new system.
Now each manager will be allowed to challenge at least one call per game. If he’s right, he gets another challenge. After the seventh inning, a crew chief can request a review on his own if the manager has used his challenges.
“I tell you the fans will love it,” baseball Commissioner Bud Selig said after owners met and voted their unanimous approval. “It’s another in a long list of changes that will make this sport better than it already is.”
Baseball was the last major pro sport in North America to institute replay when it began late in the 2008 season. Even then, it was only used for close calls on home runs.
RAYS: Three-time AL All-Star David Price and the Tampa Bay Rays have agreed to a $14 million, one-year contract, the highest single-season salary in franchise history. The 2012 Cy Young Award winner has been the subject of trade speculation after going 10-8 with a 3.33 ERA last year while earning $10,112,500. He is eligible for free agency after the 2015 season. His 2013 season was interrupted by his first stint on the disabled list, caused by a strained triceps. Price is the Rays career leader in ERA and winning percentage, and he is second in victories. Tampa Bay, which made the playoffs for the fourth time in six seasons, announced the deal Thursday.