Instant replay goes smoothly in Arizona debut

Review of play on bases during Diamondbacks-Angels game takes little time, gets call right, just as MLB would have hoped.

Angels manager Mike Scioscia initiated the first Cactus League instant replay review Monday.

Jake Roth / USA TODAY Sports

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- No fuss. No muss. No bother.

Instant replay went exactly as Major League Baseball would have hoped in its first trial in a spring training game in Arizona on Monday, when the Angels beat the Diamondbacks 3-2 at Salt River Fields.

"It was about as smooth as you could ask for," said D-backs first baseman Paul Goldschmidt, who was right in the middle of it.

Angels manager Mike Scioscia asked for an umpire's review after Arizona catcher Bobby Wilson threw out Los Angeles base runner Luis Jimenez attempting to steal second base in the top of the second inning.

After a brief discussion, first-base umpire Ted Barrett and second-base umpire Bill Miller went to a telephone in the photo well near the first-base dugout to confer with MLB officials, who had access to replays in a dedicated trailer outside the stadium. Less than a minute later, the umps returned to the field and indicated that the initial call was correct.

"We weren't trying to make a mockery out of it,'' Scioscia said. "We thought it was a pretty close play. If we have 15 angles of that ..."

The official delay was 2 minutes, 31 seconds, but that was from the time Scioscia entered the field until the review was completed.

 

 

"It didn't seem that long," said Goldschmidt, the Diamondbacks' player representative. 

Getting the play right and completing the review in a timely manner are "both important," Goldschmidt continued. "You don't want to have the game stalled out. If it's going to run like that, it is going to be great."

According to the new rules adopted by Major League Baseball and the players union over the winter, managers can challenge up two calls in the first six innings. If they are wrong on the first one, however, they do not get a second challenge. The umpire crew chief can call for a challenge after the seventh inning.

Diamondbacks manager Kirk Gibson said he considered challenging a close play at first base on a Goldschmidt grounder to shortstop but decided against it. The D-backs were communicating via walkie-talkie with a man in their video room, and they will do the same during home games at Chase Field going forward.

"It is a lot more complicated than we thought. Hopefully we have super slo-mo (replays) in the regular season," Gibson said.

Scoscia agreed about the complications from a strategical standpoint.

"As far as the strategy of it, that's going to take a lot," Scioscia said. "It might be something you win, but you know you need that challenge to save the big play somewhere.''

Instant replay was used twice in the Blue Jays-Twins game in Florida on Monday, and it was available but not used during the Brewers-Cubs game in Arizona. It was tested extensively in the 2013 Arizona Fall League.

About the only decisions that cannot be challenged are balls and strikes, checked swings, obstruction/interference and the infield fly rule. A home run can be reviewed at any time.

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