Major League Baseball is testing the proposed manager's challenge-based expanded instant replay system in the Arizona Fall League this week, and the first day went by without a hitch on Tuesday. Wednesday was a little more ... chaotic. Let's hand it over to MLB.com's Tom Singer for some play-by-play:
#MLB history: 1st call overturned by replay: Salt River's Ryan Brett called safe on steal of second — Scottsdale challenge results in out.— Tom Singer (@Tom_Singer) November 7, 2013
I don't have a video or GIF to pass along, but I was watching the game live and can assure you the replay process was quick and painless, just like Tuesday. It was a bang-bang play at second and the replay was pretty definitive. Nice and easy.
Later in the inning, the replay system was used again:
Another reversed call, and still in top of 1st: Safe call at 1st after 3B Kubitza bobbles grounder is overturned - saving Kubitza from E— Tom Singer (@Tom_Singer) November 7, 2013
Managers are allowed as many challenges as they want this week as they work out the kinks in the system. They've been encouraged to challenge pretty much anything that appears challengeable. Under the proposed system, managers will get one challenge for the first six innings and two for the final three innings.
Anyway, this was another bang-bang play and again the replay process was quick. That's become a theme in the early going, thankfully. Now let's fast forward a few innings:
OK, we've got our 1st DOUBLE-challenge. On Kubitza triple, Rafters challenge safe call at 3d. Upheld. Then that he missed 2nd. Also upheld.— Tom Singer (@Tom_Singer) November 7, 2013
Because, you can only challenge 1 phase of a play at a time. But once a decision rendered, you can challenge another phase of same play.— Tom Singer (@Tom_Singer) November 7, 2013
That sounds rather hectic and I'm sorry I missed it. I picked a bad time to be looking away from my television, apparently. I assume that double-challenge rule in Singer's second tweet will hold true if and when the system is implemented in the big leagues, meaning that situation can only happen in innings 7-9 (and beyond).
These two Arizona Fall League games have been close to unwatchable because of all the replays -- there were more in the later innings of Wednesday's game, these were only the first three -- but thankfully they'll be limited when the system is implemented. So far they've getting the calls correct and they're doing it quickly. That's the most important thing. The early returns have been positive.