In the Arizona Fall League on Tuesday night, we got our first taste of expanded replay.
According to an article from Tom Singer at MLB.com, the managers for Salt River and Mesa were encouraged to be liberal with their challenges. In the top of the second inning, CJ Cron of the Mesa Solar Sox was thrown out at first base. Solar Sox manager Bill Richardson called for a replay. Home plate umpire Trip Gibson put on his headset to communicate with the replay official, and the call was correctly upheld. The total time from the beginning of the replay until the next pitch? Roughly a minute. If Richardson had gone out and gotten into a rousing argument with the umpiring crew, I guarantee you it would have lasted longer than a minute.
That replay was one of four that took place over the course of the game. In the fourth, Tyler Collins grounded out to first, but it looked like the pitcher missed the bag. Replay was called for and the call was upheld in under a minute. In the fifth inning, Josh Skole hit a sinking liner to left that was called a hit. Upon replay, the call was confirmed. Total time elapsed? A minute. In the eighth, Dustin Garneau grounded out to third, getting beaten to the bag by a split second. Once again, replay was called for. This one took about a minute and a half to look at, but the correct call was made.
What does all of this mean? Well, replay isn't going away, that's for sure. The system will continue to be tweaked, and on Wednesday night, the 20 second limit will be enforced. On Tuesday, managers could challenge a play at any point before the next play had begun. Tonight, they'll have 20 seconds from the conclusion of the play to make a challenge. Neither manager had a challenge limit on Tuesday night, but the plan will be for each manager to have one challenge over the first six innings and two from inning seven on.
The system isn't perfect. You'll be able to find fault with anything MLB does in regards to replay. But on Tuesday night, the process went as smooth as can be.