Torre to look at how replay challenges are made
SAN DIEGO (AP) After watching a full season of expanded-replay review, Joe Torre is unhappy with what he saw - that is, before managers challenged plays.
Major League Baseball's chief baseball officer thinks one way to cut down lengthy games is to adjust replay rules.
''Initially when we talked about rolling out replay, we basically talked about if you go out of the dugout you can't challenge it. That was the first thought we had,'' Torre explained Tuesday at the winter meetings. ''And then I said, I hate to take that away from the manager. But I didn't really, in thinking that way, I really didn't plan on watching managers meander on out. ... That looks bad.''
Time and again, the Dance of the Manager would play out after a close play to give the team's replay crew a chance to look at the video. Whether it was Don Mattingly with the Los Angeles Dodgers or Joe Girardi with the New York Yankees or Joe Maddon with Tampa Bay, the moves were the same.
The manager hesitated on the top step of the dugout before taking a slow stroll out to an umpire. The manager inevitably coaxed the umpire into swinging around so the skipper could have a clear view into the dugout while awaiting a thumbs up or down from a coach: review or not. More often than not, the manager and umpire engaged in what appeared to be friendly banter.
The 1,275 reviews in the first year of expanded replay averaged 1 minute, 46 seconds in a season in which game times ballooned to 3 hours, 2 minutes on average for nine-inning games.
With Commissioner-elect Rob Manfred making attracting younger viewers a priority, everything on the field is up for discussion when it comes to enlivening America's pastime, plagued by sagging national TV ratings.
Torre will be meeting with the 30 managers at the Manchester Grand Hyatt, overlooking San Diego Bay, home of the famed aircraft carrier USS Midway, and one of his main topics will be replay review. The Hall of Famer will then gather with the rules committee to further discuss pace of game among other issues.
''I think what we're looking at now in regards to pace of game is strictly pace of game. Not necessarily length of game, although that would pick up if you helped the pace,'' Torre said. ''And part of that was I guess you could look at the replay stuff where the challenge system, where we had managers go out.''
Torre said about two-thirds of the managers he spoke with during the season were not happy with the expanded-replay system and he cited Kansas City's Ned Yost as being someone to look to for a possible solution.
''He pretty much just came out of the dugout top step, just to sort of alert the players that I may be doing something,'' Torre said. ''And that worked well for him.''
When the rules committee meets, all sorts of ideas for speeding up the pace will be addressed. One of the most talked about ideas this offseason is a 20-second pitch clock. Torre had a chance to see it used during an Arizona Fall League experiment.
''I was never a proponent of introducing the clock in baseball. But I went out there the one afternoon and I was pretty impressed,'' Torre said. ''It was there. But it really wasn't intrusive in any way. I'm not discounting down the road that it may be a benefit, maybe some kind of variation of it.''