In yet another attempt to improve the pace of play, Major League Baseball wants to implement a 30-second limit for managers to request instant replay challenges, reports ESPN's Jayson Stark. They want to eliminate managers standing around while their video review guy looks over the play.
Here are some details, via Stark:
The current rules say that, in most cases, managers must "immediately" inform umpires if they want to challenge a call. But in reality, there are often long delays as managers often wait for advice from their internal replay assistants before challenging.
There are no stats on this as far as I know, but doesn't it seem most managers make their decision to challenge in fewer than 30 seconds? In 2014, the first year of instant replay, there was a lot of standing around waiting for the thumbs up or the thumbs down from the dugout. That isn't really the case nowadays.
If MLB really wants to speed up the replay process, the better move would be limiting how long the replay crew in New York could review a play. We've seen some very long replay stoppages in recent years. One replay during a Blue Jays-Athletics game in 2014 took more than 10 minutes:
According to MLB Replay Statistics, the average replay delay lasted two minutes and 30 seconds in 2014. Why not limit it to two minutes? Or even 90 seconds. The longest replays typically involve plays that are inconclusive, when there's not enough evidence to overturn the call. A limit would shorten those delays.
With a two-minute limit, the most egregious calls would still be overturned quickly. The more nitpicky plays, like when a runner pops off the base for a fraction of a second, are the ones that would be most affected by a replay time limit.
I understand the goal of replay is to get the call right, and I am all for that. I'm just suggesting that if MLB wants to improve pace of play, limiting the time of the replay challenge figures to be more effective than giving managers 30 seconds to make their decision. We're talking about saving minutes as opposed to saving seconds.