PARADISE VALLEY, Ariz. — Major League Baseball will greatly expand instant replay to review close calls starting this season.
MLB announced Thursday that owners, players and umpires have approved the new system.
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.
The so-called “neighborhood play” at second base on double plays cannot be challenged. Many had safety concerns for middle infielders being wiped out by hard-charging runners if the phantom force was subject to review.
“I tell you the fans will love it,” baseball Commisioner 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.”
All reviews will be done by MLB umpires at a replay center in MLB.com’s New York office. To create a large enough staff, MLB agreed to hire six new big league umpires and call up two minor league umps for the entire season. A seventh major league umpire will be added to replace the late Wally Bell.
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.
The NFL, NBA, NHL, some NCAA sports and major tennis tournaments all use a form of replay, and even FIFA and the English Premier League have adopted goal-line technology for soccer.