Arizona Fall League Replay Testing Recap


June 2, 2012; Houston, TX, USA; Third base umpire Jim Joyce upholds a call on the field during a replay during a game between the Houston Astros and Cincinnati Reds in the third inning at Minute Maid Park. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

Major League Baseball has completed 4 days of testing the new instant replay rules in the Arizona Fall League so far. The purpose is to test the methods and procedures MLB plans to put in place for the 2014 season.

The main question is still which plays will be reviewed? For the most part, almost all plays will be allowed to be reviewed. According to MLB, 89% of plays will be allowed to be reviewed. The main plays that are not allowed to be review will be checked swings, balls and strike calls at the plate. Also, if a manager wants to question a non-reviewable play, he is still allowed to ask the umpires to meet to discuss the play and make a decision on the call.

So now that it has been tested for a few games how well has it worked? During the first game the new replay rules were used, the managers used 4 challenges to test the new system. The replays in the Arizona Fall League were handled by an official in a replay trailer, unlike the new system that will utilize the MLB headquarters in New York to conduct the replays.

How does it work? On November 5, MLB tested it in the Mesa Solar Sox against the Salt River Rafters the first play challenged when C. J. Cron grounded out when second baseman Jacob Wilson threw to first baseman Kyle Parker. The play was close and Bill Richardson, the manager of the Sox, informed the home plate umpire Trip Gibson he wanted the play to be reviewed.

During the normal process for calling replays still needs to be finalized. The manager might be given a flag or a beanbag to indicate the challenge.

For the first game, there were 4 challenges, all at first base to for 3 ground outs and a single. All were close calls, but none were overturned.

“I thought it went very well,” Garagiola said minutes after the final out of Salt River’s 7-0 victory. “A bit of history.” (Tom Singer –

“We wanted to make sure to do something that wasn’t going to affect the rhythm of the game. [Tuesday] night looked good,” said Joe Torre (Tom Singe

The MLB intends to keep each replay to less than 3 minutes each. The replays used in the first game didn’t have an impact on the 2 hour and 49 minute game.

The first play to be overturned using relay came in the game Salt River Rafters against Scottsdale Scorpions game on November 6. In the first inning of play, Ryan Brett stole second base and was called safe. A challenge was issued and Brett was ruled out.

Another play was first overturned in the first inning with 2 outs James Ramsey hit a ground ball towards third base. Kyle Kubitza played the ball and threw to first but he was called safe. The play was challenged and Ramsey was ruled out. The end result was a loss of a run, because the Rafters had a man on third that scored when Ramsey made it to first.

Unlike the first game, out of 6 challenges, 3 were overturned.

No plays were reviewed on November 7th.

One more play was reviewed on November 8th in the Scottsdale Scorpions against Glendale Desert Dogs. This was another ground out play to first base that stood as called.

Over all, after the first 4 games, there were 11 challenges and 3 were overturned. When replay in MLB, it will not happen that often. Managers in the Arizona Fall League were given unlimited reviews and were encouraged to challenge plays for the purpose of testing.

“It looked like it went off smoothly,” said Joe Torre – MLB’s executive vice president of baseball operations (

One of the first overturned calls came in the game Salt River Rafters against Scottsdale Scorpions game

There will be 2 more games to use instant replay.

Saturday, November 9, 8:00 p.m. ET: Peoria Javelinas at Salt River Rafters
Saturday, November 16, 3:00 p.m. ET: Arizona Fall League Championship Game