Selig calls replay rollout ‘remarkable,’ downplays early glitches
NEW YORK — Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig says the sport’s new replay system is working well despite a few problems during its first two weeks.
While baseball began video review late in the 2008 season, it was limited to potential home runs and boundary calls. The new system that began March 30 vastly expands the types of plays that managers and umpires can ask to be reviewed at a replay center in New York.
Calls by umpires on the field have been confirmed in 33 of 89 challenges through Monday and overturned in 30. For 25 others, calls stood because of a lack of "clear and convincing" evidence. In one instance, umpires asked for a video review to check the balls-strike count.
Selig called the rollout "remarkable" but wouldn’t say whether MLB would make any adjustments during this initial season.
"We’ve had really very little controversy overall," Selig said Tuesday at the MLB Diversity Business Summit. "Everything in life will have a little glitch here and there where you do something new. And are our guys on top of it? You bet. But I’m saying to you again, you’ll hear about the one or two controversies, but look at all the calls that have been overturned."
Umpires review challenged calls in a room filled with computers, screens and technicians at the offices of Major League Baseball Advanced Media.
"Technology takes a while to work," MLBAM chief executive officer Bob Bowman said. "I don’t know if you ever bought a new car. You don’t know how all that stuff works right away. And if you ever get a new phone, it takes you awhile to learn it."
Boston manager John Farrell was ejected after a call was overturned during Sunday’s game against the Yankees, which gave New York an additional run in a game it went on to win 3-2. Francisco Cervelli originally was called out at first for an inning-ending double play, but he was ruled safe on the review — allowing Brian McCann to score from first.
A day earlier, MLB admitted it incorrectly failed to overturn a call that was in favor of the Yankees and said it was because the replay room in New York did not immediately have access to some of the camera angles from broadcasts that showed Boston shortstop Xander Bogaerts tagged Dean Anna while the runner’s right foot briefly came off second base.
"I don’t expect any system to be perfect. So it’s no different than before instant replay," Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner said. "You’re going to get calls that go your way, and you’re probably going to get some that don’t. And no system is perfect, but it’s a vast improvement over what we had."
Chicago Cubs owner Tom Ricketts had a more parochial — and playful — view.
"We’re two and two in challenges, so it’s clear to us the replay system only works about half the time," he said.