Sticking to the theme of “pace of play,” Major League Baseball’s latest objective to reduce time will go towards instant replay. According to ESPN’s Jayson Stark, “its first target is managers.”
Stark passed along information via his sources that MLB wants a 30-second time limit for managers to decide whether to challenge an umpire’s call.
“The current rules say that, in most cases, managers must “immediately” inform umpires if they want to challenge a call,” said Stark. “But in reality, there are often long delays as managers often wait for advice from their internal replay assistants before challenging.”
Negotiations are ongoing and it’s remaining unclear how these guidelines will come about. It was also reported MLB has talked to the umpire’s union to see if this situation was even possible, which remains the big question.
To add to the confusion, last season the replay process was using up less time than ever.
“The average review time dropped from 1 minute, 51 seconds in 2015 to 1:36 last year. The time umpires spent on the headset, waiting for word from the replay center, was cut from 1:27 to 1:10. Both figures represent the fastest review times in the three-year history of expanded replay,” reported Stark.
The 30-second idea is one thing, but can this genuinely be controlled? It seems hard to believe a discussion can stick within this time frame, and the data above doesn’t account for time a manager will take to make the decision.
It seems it’s another way Commissioner Rob Manfred is trying to reduce time. So expect the minor leagues to experiment with this, much like they’re going to do for a radical extra-innings rule change that could rock MLB in the years to come.