Jayson Stark of ESPN reports that Major League Baseball wants a 30-second time limit for managers to decide whether or not to challenge an umpire’s call. Whether it will be a hard limit or a guideline, strongly encouraged from above, is not yet clear.
As Stark notes, the total time the average replay review takes has been going down year-by-year. The decision about whether to challenge or not, however, has been lagging, with each team employing a dedicated reply guy who calls to the manager when he thinks a call should be challenged.
I’ve still never seen a compelling explanation of why the decision to review a play should be the subject of a manager’s challenge. Doing so turned replay into a matter of gamesmanship and strategy and has led to things like the replay review to see if a guy’s hand came off the bag for a milisecond as he slid. An impartial umpire in the booth, aware that such things have been allowed by umpire discretion for 150 years, would ignore it. In the hands of an interested party of course such imperfections will be exploited.
I suppose that’s another conversation, however.