MINNEAPOLIS — Ron Gardenhire has had his share of run-ins with umpires about calls the Twins skipper felt were made incorrectly. While he admitted Thursday he hadn’t heard much about the rule changes to instant replay, Gardenhire will likely enjoy the new system.
Major League Baseball announced a proposal Thursday that would allow managers the ability to challenge calls they feel were made incorrectly — although that does not include arguments about the strike zone. Team owners will vote on the issue at meetings in Orlando in November, and the MLB Players Association and World Umpires Association must also approve of the changes.
If the changes are approved, managers will be awarded one challenge for the first six innings and then two challenges from the seventh inning until the game is over. If a manager does opt to challenge a call, it will be looked at remotely by a crew from MLB.
“I’ve said all along they should have a guy in the booth with a replay set right in front of him and he signals yes or no,” Gardenhire said before Thursday’s game against Chicago. “I’ve always thought that’s the quickest way to do it. I know they’ve talked about it being too expensive to have another person up there but they have people all around watching umpires anyway. So why not give them a monitor and make a decision quick instead of them having run off the field.”
Gardenhire likened the situation to the National Football League, where coaches get a red flag they throw onto the field in order to challenge a play. It remains to be seen how the system will work in baseball as far as how a manager goes about challenging a call, but nothing has been announced about a flag.
Like the NFL, though, it’s been reported that if a ruling is upheld the manager loses his challenge. If the play is overturned, the manager keeps the challenge.
“I’ve always kidded about a red flag. But what are you going to be able to throw it on? What types of plays?” Gardenhire said. “But it saves a lot of arguments. You can just throw the flag out there and they can make a decision. But can you throw it on the first pitch of the game?”
In recent years, MLB instituted a policy in which home runs can be reviewed. In that scenario, the umpires run off the field together to look at replays. It often takes a minute or two and can slow the game down, which has been a reason opponents of instant replay don’t want it in the game.
Gardenhire wasn’t so concerned about how replay might affect the pace of games. As long as the umpires get the call right, that’s what counts, he said.
“All umpires tell you the same thing. All they want to do is call it right,” Gardenhire said. “They don’t like it when they’re seen missing a call and have to answer all the questions. It helps both sides on it.”