SoSH Glossary: MLB Replay Review

Baseball is filled with statistics, rules, and archaic terms that can often form what sounds like a foreign language. Sons of Sam Horn’s glossary provides a better understanding of these terms through straightforward definitions, clear explanations, and examples pulled straight from the baseball world. If there is anything you would like us to add to our glossary, please contact us.

MLB Replay Review

A replay review, sometimes referred to as instant replay, occurs when a call on the field is disputed and reviewed by a replay official, who has the authority to overturn the original call. The replay official is a full-time umpire, stationed in New York City, who views the play in question and determines whether or not the correct call was made on the field. There must be clear and convincing evidence in order for the replay official to overturn a call on the field.

Managers’ Responsibilities

Each manager has one challenge per regular season game, and two challenges in playoff games. If a manager challenges a play and the call is judged to be correct, then he loses his challenge. However, if the call is overturned, then he keeps the challenge.

The manager must challenge the call on the field in a timely manner, as determined by the crew chief. When the manager informs the crew chief that he is using his manager’s challenge, he must specify what call (or calls) he is challenging. He may challenge as many calls on a play as he wishes, and there only needs to be one call overturned in order for him to keep his challenge.

If a manager is out of challenges after the 7th inning, then he may ask the crew chief to have a play reviewed. The crew chief decides whether or not to allow a review.

Crew Chief’s Responsibilities

The crew chief may have any home run reviewed at any time. Starting in the 7th inning, the crew chief may have the replay official review any play. It is the responsibility of the crew chief to make sure that the replay process is run in a timely manner. Because of this, challenges must be issued before:

  • The pitcher is on the rubber and the batter is in the batter’s box
  • If the third out was made, then the manager must be out of the dugout in 10 seconds and then has 30 seconds to make his decision on whether or not to challenge the play. The umpire must keep the defense on the field in this instance.
  • If a reliever has been called for, a challenge must be issued before the reliever steps on the warning track, or crosses the foul line in the instances of on-field bullpens. However, if the crew chief judges that the defensive manager rushed the call to the bullpen, then he may go forward with the challenge.
  • If the play was the last out of the game, then the manager must immediately challenge the play and both teams must remain in their respective dugouts.

What if Both Managers Want To Challenge?

Both managers may challenge a play; however, they must inform the crew chief before he speaks with the replay official. If both managers challenge the same play and one overturned call renders the other moot, then neither manager will lose his challenge.

If a call is overturned, then crew chief may allow the other manager to challenge if:

  1. The manager makes the challenge immediately following the announcement of the overturned play.
  2. The new result affects the outcome of the play.
  3. The adversely affected club had no reason to challenge the play before the overturned call

Example: A shallow line drive is caught by the left fielder but called a trap. However, the baserunner attempts to turn the play into a double and is thrown out at second. The manager of the hitting team challenges the play at second and the tag play is overturned. The defensive manager then challenges the trap call and that call is overturned as it was indeed a catch.

What Can Be Challenged?

  • Potential home runs
  • Non-home run boundary calls – balls bouncing out of the field of play or a fan interfering with a ball by reaching over the fence
  • Fair/foul calls
  • Force/tag calls
  • Catches in the outfield
  • Baserunners passing one another
  • Whether or not a baserunner scored before the third out
  • Whether or not a baserunner touched a base
  • Hit by pitch
  • Illegal collisions at home plate – reviewing whether contact made by the runner was legal
  • Tag ups
  • Placement of runners
  • Catcher interference
  • Interference during a double play

Additional Responsibilities of the Replay Official

Finally, the crew chief can consult with the replay official at any time during the game regarding:

  • Record keeping (score, ball-strike count, outs, etc.)
  • Substitutions
  • Batting order
  • Ensuring that decisions made on the field adhere to the MLB Rulebook so that a game is not played under protest

Pete Hodges has written about the call up of a top prospect, an odd tradition, and Leo the Lip.

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Pete is the Editor-in-Chief of Sons of Sam Horn. Currently residing in North Carolina, he enjoys reading and spending time outdoors when not editing or working with his tremendous team.

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