Owners to be briefed on replay recommendations
Teams, players union already agree to expand to fair-foul and trap plays
COOPERSTOWN, N.Y. -- The committee that has been working on making recommendations for expanded replay briefed Major League Baseball's executive council late Wednesday afternoon and will report to the joint session Thursday morning during the quarterly Owners Meetings.
Commissioner Bud Selig declined to elaborate on the substance of the discussions, saying only that the committee of Braves president John Schuerholz and former managers Joe Torre and Tony La Russa provided "a very thoughtful and well-done presentation."
It was not immediately clear whether a vote will be taken Thursday.
Asked if he's encouraged, Torre said only: "I'm always encouraged."
While there is broad support to increase replay beyond the current boundary calls involving home runs, there are myriad details that must be ironed out. MLB and the Major League Baseball Players Association already have agreed in the latest Basic Agreement to allow the addition of fair-foul and trap plays to the list of plays that could be reviewed. But after seeing a missed tag play in the postseason last year, Torre began to consider the possibility of putting everything on the table except balls and strikes. That could mean the installation of more cameras at all parks.
It will also have to be determined whether managers will have a challenge system and whether the replays will be looked at in a central location, most likely in New York.
And then there's the cost. USA Today Sports estimated that the start-up expense for the full replay package could run from $25 million to $40 million.
Said Torre at the Owners Meetings in May: "There are a lot of hurdles. We're just trying to do what makes sense for the game. You could start replaying stuff from the first inning on and time the game by your calendar. That could be crazy. We have a rhythm in this game that we don't want to disrupt. One of the decisions we want to make is how much of this do we want to do without really disrupting and putting people to sleep."
Even if the owners vote to approve expanded replay Thursday, MLB will still have to further negotiate with the MLBPA and the World Umpires Association, which did not sign off on adding fair-foul and trap plays, before any new system could be implemented.
Paul Hagen is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.