Amid growing outrage over blown calls and mistakes made by umpires, the MLB made the decision to expand the use of instant replay for the 2014 season.Prior to this season, the only reviewable play was a borderline home run–reviewable throughout the game–and the play was reviewed at the umpire’s discretion. Now, managers have been given the ability to challenge almost anything outside of balls and strikes.
In the new challenge system, each manager is given one challenge and will only receive a second if his first challenge is successful. After the sixth inning, managers can ask umpires to review a call–and typically they will–but in this scenario, they are not obligated to. Once a challenge is made, the game pauses while the umpires watch the replay and consult with an off-site crew of replay officials.
Reactions to instant replay have been mixed. Some fans and critics have praised its use, pointing to examples where it has overturned incorrect calls at key moments in games. Others have lamented the amount of time that challenges take, as well as their effect on the rhythm of games. In this edition of Changing the Game, we explore tweaks that the MLB could make in order to improve the current instant replay system.