Expanded instant replay is coming to baseball this season. Some teams have proactively designated a “video-review coach” of sorts — someone who will watch the replay of every umpire’s call at the stadium, and phone the manager to indicate whether or not he would win a challenge.
The Dodgers haven’t hired such a coach, manager Don Mattingly said, but there is a candidate in mind from within the organization.
“We’ve talked about it. I don’t think there’s been a final decision,” Mattingly said.Baseball’s field generals might have their hands full with the new replay system. Managers can challenge one call from the first through the sixth inning, and two more beginning in the seventh.
“Do you use (your first challenge) in the first (inning), or are you going to try to save it for a little bit later? That run in the first could be big,” Mattingly said. “You don’t know when you should use it.”
The process sounds straightforward: The “video coach” watches the replay of each ruling on the field and makes a phone call to the dugout (via land line) to let the manager know if the call was incorrect. Then the manager can choose whether or not to challenge. The Dodgers will be able to practice the process before Opening Day.
“I think there are going to be some games in spring training where we can try it out,” Mattingly said.
At the Sydney Cricket Ground, however, the only reviewable calls will involve home runs. For the Dodgers’ first-two regular season games, the replay system will be stuck in 2013.
When the Dodgers and Padres open the North American portion of their season in San Diego on March 30, the challenges can begin in full force.
“I like the fact that we’re going to have replay,” Mattingly said. “Hopefully games are decided more about if the play’s right or wrong. It takes a little pressure off the umpires, I would think. Plays at the plate are bang-bang. Those are tough calls. We’ve gotten there with technology that we should be fast enough. It’s not going to be a huge delay.”