Daily Distractions: MLB to test new replay system in Arizona Fall League games.

MLB replay

Glendale Desert Dogs players will be among the first to get a first-hand look at baseball’s proposed replay system for 2014. (Associated Press photo)

Baseball’s revamped replay system is about to take its first test-drive.

Select Arizona Fall League games from Nov. 5-9 will be the first to allow manager’s challenges of umpires’ calls. One of the games will feature the Glendale Desert Dogs, the Dodgers’ AFL affiliate. All of the games will be televised on MLB Network, so fan input on social media will likely be swift.

The proposed changes to baseball’s replay system were devised with significant input from former Dodgers manager Joe Torre, Tony La Russa and Atlanta Braves president John Schuerholz. A thorough review of the changes, including the guidelines for manager’s challenges, can be read here.

Four things to keep in mind:

1. Arizona Fall League umpires are usually Triple-A umpires, but the games will be observed by select MLB officials and umpires.

2. A spokesperson for the league said that the feedback from the replay experiences at the AFL games will be evaluated by MLB. If any changes are recommended to the proposed system, teams will know by the time their owners vote to implement it in 2014. That vote is expected to take place at the owner/GM meetings, Nov. 11-13.

3. Managers will make verbal indications of their intent to challenge a play. No flags need to be thrown in the process of challenging a call.

4. The camera angles available to AFL umpires won’t be the same as they would be during a major-league game.

A few bullet points for an Antigua and Barbudan Independence Day:
Continue reading

Daily Distractions: On the traveling advance scout, a species facing extinction.

Sorry for the delay here. I spent the morning critiquing my college newspaper. I tried to lift their spirits, since any of them intending to pursue journalism professionally are in danger of being crushed upon receiving their first paycheck. There’s a time and a place for everything.

That segues clumsily into my topic for today, advance scouts.

I was surprised to learn that the Dodgers had only one advance scout listed in their 2013 media guide, Wade Taylor, and he was let go last week. Many members of the front office do some advance scouting from time to time, but indeed, there’s only one major-league advance scout assigned to the task full-time, working mostly on the road.

“For the postseason, we have an army of scouts,” Dodgers president Stan Kasten said. “We have two or three guys on each of the possible teams we could meet in October, in September. Regular season, there’s one principal one. Teams are going away from advance scouts, doing it via video.”

A small sampling of major-league teams affirms this trend. For convenience’s sake, let’s look at the other four National League West teams. All have exactly one advance scout listed in their media guide. Two have at least one assistant dedicated to advance scouting via video. Like the Dodgers, the San Francisco Giants deployed a similar “army” of scouts during their playoff push in September 2012.

The Dodgers aren’t expected to be adding more than one advance scout this off-season. Thanks to video, the full-time traveling advance scout is something of a dying breed, a department of one from April to August.

Maybe if his team is contending in September, the advance scout has help — a time and a place for everything.

Some bullet points for a Wednesday:
Continue reading