(Reuters) - Major League Baseball took another step toward implementing expanded video replay on Thursday as the club owners unanimously approved of funding for the system.
“We made a gigantic move today and I‘m very pleased about that,” said Commissioner Bud Selig, who added that the final owners’ vote on implementation of an expanded replay system would be taken at their meeting in Phoenix in January.
The plan would dramatically increase the number of plays that can be reviewed from the current limit involving home run calls, but would not extend to calls on balls and strikes.
Expanded use of replay should calm the furor over blown calls that have gone unchanged, including umpire Jim Joyce’s bad decision on what should have been the last out and cost Detroit pitcher Armando Galarraga a perfect game in 2010.
One significant change to the plan initially unveiled in August is the number of challenges allowed per game. Each manager would be allowed up to two unsuccessful challenges, retaining the right to challenge again with each successful one.
The plan still must be approved by the Major League Baseball Players Association and the World Umpires Association.
Rob Manfred, MLB’s chief operating officer, said he was confident an agreement would be made with both unions.
If approved, the system would be run from MLB Advanced Media’s replay operations center in New York.
“I think we’re quite far along,” Selig said from the general managers meetings in Orlando, Florida.
“The bottom line is, we’re moving forward on replay. People spoke very emotionally about it. Clubs are very excited about it. Unless there’s something I‘m missing right now, we’re going to have replay in 2014.”
Major League Baseball was the last major North American professional team sport to install video replay after beginning to use it in 2008, following its use in the NFL (since 1986), NHL (1991) and NBA (2002).
Reporting by Larry Fine in New York; Editing by Frank Pingue