Twins get first look at MLB's new replay system

  • Article by: PHIL MILLER , Star Tribune
  • Updated: March 4, 2014 - 11:17 AM

Umps reviewed two plays but didn’t overturn either one.

– The first two video challenges in major league history went in the Twins’ favor Monday. The Twins believe the entire take-another-look system ultimately will go in baseball’s favor, too.

A pair of bang-bang plays at first base were reviewed by umpires watching digital replays during the Twins’ 12-2 exhibition victory over Toronto at Hammond Stadium, the first time in big-league history that a tool other than human eyes and ears was used to determine what happened on the bases.

“For lack of a better word, we’re pioneers at it,” said Twins coach Terry Steinbach, who managed the split-squad team in the game but never challenged a call. “We have the opportunity to use this advantageously to the game of baseball, to prevent mistakes that affect the outcome of ballgames. We have the chance. To me, that’s a pretty exciting prospect.”

Monday’s game was the first to be played under the video-challenge rule that was unanimously adopted this winter, a system that allows managers to trigger a review by an umpire watching slow-motion replays. It came into play in the sixth inning, when Twins outfielder Chris Rahl hit a sharp grounder to Toronto shortstop Munenori Kawasaki. The throw to first was high, and first baseman Jared Goedert lost contact with the base in order to catch the ball, with umpire Fieldin Culbreth ruling Rahl safe.

Blue Jays manager John Gibbons agreed with the call, but he immediately walked over and challenged Culbreth’s decision anyway, just to test the new system. Culbreth donned a headset next to the Toronto dugout and asked umpire Brian O’Nora, stationed in a nearby TV truck, to watch replays and render a verdict. (During the regular season, replay umpires will watch from an MLB control room in New York.)

“When [Gibbons] came out and they went to the replay, I was thinking, ‘Maybe I’m the first one. This could be kind of cool. I might get on ESPN or something,’ ” Rahl said. “It was exciting. Interesting to see the process and how it works. I thought it went fairly well and was pretty quick. They got the call right, so that’s the point of the process.”

Actually, the video wasn’t entirely conclusive, but with only two angles to work with from the Fox Sports North feed — most stadiums will provide 10 or more during the regular season — O’Nora said he saw enough to uphold the call. “You could see [Goedert] was up in the air, and when he was coming down, he wasn’t on the base,” said O”Nora, one of three umpires who rotated into the replay truck for three-inning stints. “When I could definitely tell he was on the base, the Twins runner’s foot was already on the base.”

The call took 2 minutes, 34 seconds to confirm, longer than the 2 minutes that baseball officials hope it will take once everyone is more familiar with the system, but not so long that anyone minded Monday.

“I didn’t think it took too long,” Rahl said. “It seemed like they got it done pretty quickly, in a timely manner. They went through the whole thing and got the call right.”

The crowd got a little more impatient two innings later, when Gibbons requested a review of Doug Bernier’s infield single, a grounder to second that turned into a close play at first. Gibbons could not challenge the play because he had already used that option unsuccessfully, but from the seventh inning on, umpires can opt to order a review on their own. When O’Nora granted Gibbons’ request and headed toward the headsets, several fans briefly booed the delay, which lasted 2:03.

Once again, the Twins runner was confirmed as safe.

“I had the play standing because I just couldn’t confirm that it was 100 percent [wrong],” said Culbreth, who was taking his turn in the replay truck at the time. “Definitely, it was not conclusive enough to overturn. So the play stands.”

Steinbach said it was fascinating to watch the new rule put into action. He almost had an opportunity to challenge a call himself, too.

In the first inning, Aaron Hicks slid home on Brian Dozier’s double, safe because the relay to the plate was wild. But had Hicks been tagged out, Steinbach would have utilized his challenge to enforce another new rule. Toronto catcher Dioner Navarro, he said, was blocking the plate before the ball arrived, a tactic outlawed this season.

“I don’t think there was a lane there. [Plate umpire Bob Davidson] said he didn’t see whether there was a lane or not, [but] he thought there was,” said Steinbach, a major league catcher for 14 seasons. O’Nora checked the play when he was in the replay truck, and reported back, Steinbach said, that he was correct. “So that would have been one of those where, if he would have been tagged out, the call potentially could have been overturned.”

Maybe next time. The Twins were happy to go 2-for-2, and happy to be part of a new era in baseball.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions


Tennessee 7:25 PM
Philadelphia 12/20/14 3:30 PM
San Diego 12/20/14 7:25 PM
San Francisco
Minnesota 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Baltimore 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Detroit 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Cleveland 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Atlanta 12/21/14 12:00 PM
New Orleans
Green Bay 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Kansas City 12/21/14 12:00 PM
New England 12/21/14 12:00 PM
NY Jets
NY Giants 12/21/14 3:05 PM
St. Louis
Buffalo 12/21/14 3:25 PM
Indianapolis 12/21/14 3:25 PM
Seattle 12/21/14 7:30 PM
Denver 12/22/14 7:30 PM
Atlanta 127 FINAL
Cleveland 98
Phoenix 111 FINAL
Charlotte 106
Dallas 117 FINAL
Detroit 106
Utah 105 FINAL
Miami 87
Orlando 92 FINAL
Boston 109
Brooklyn 89 FINAL
Toronto 105
Memphis 117 FINAL
San Antonio 116
Milwaukee 97 FINAL
Portland 104
Houston 115 FINAL
Denver 111
Indiana 100 FINAL
LA Clippers 102
Ottawa 2 FINAL
New Jersey 0
Boston 3 FINAL(OT)
Minnesota 2
Dallas 2 FINAL
Vancouver 0
Langston 65 FINAL
North Texas 78
Delaware State 72 FINAL
St Francis-NY 64
James Madison 72 FINAL
Ball State 52
SIU Edwardsville 65 FINAL
Campbell 70
St Francis-PA 67 FINAL
Duquesne 52
North Florida 77 FINAL
Florida State 93
Catawba 69 FINAL
George Mason 99
Ferrum 48 FINAL
High Point 106
Hampton 55 FINAL
Illinois 73
Gardner-Webb 65 FINAL
Jacksonville 68
Longwood 60 FINAL
Miami-Ohio 71
Arkansas State 69 FINAL
Miss State 55
Tennessee 72 FINAL
NC State 83
Ohio State 97
Manhattan 56 FINAL
Pittsburgh 65
Robert Morris 57 FINAL
Toledo 83
Char Southern 58 FINAL
Wofford 64
Kennesaw St 90 FINAL
Youngstown St 84
Barber-Scotia 52 FINAL
NC Central 108
Detroit 70 FINAL
UCF 75
Liberty 70 FINAL
UNC-Wilmington 73
Denver 83
Ark-Pine Bluff 61 FINAL
Houston 56
UT Martin 54 FINAL
Illinois State 64
Milligan 76 FINAL
Louisiana 115
Abilene Christian 44 FINAL
Loyola-Chicago 83
USC Upstate 73 FINAL
Memphis 83
Alcorn State 56 FINAL
Murray State 94
Central Mich 80 FINAL
Northwestern 67
Georgia State 54 FINAL
Old Dominion 58
TX-Pan American 69 FINAL
Saint Louis 75
Ill-Chicago 46 FINAL
SMU 67
Texas State 60 FINAL
Stephen F Austin 66
SC State 39 FINAL
Texas Tech 101
Missouri State 70 FINAL
Tulsa 74
Chicago State 60 FINAL
Western Ky 75
Morehead State 50 FINAL
Green Bay 66
Northern Colorado 82 FINAL
Nebraska Omaha 92
Winthrop 62 FINAL
Auburn 80
New Mexico St 55 FINAL
Baylor 66
San Diego St 62 FINAL
Cincinnati 71
Eastern Mich 46 FINAL
Michigan State 66
Loyola Marymount 58 FINAL
Stanford 67
Incarnate Word 82 FINAL
Grand Canyon 80
Northeastern 58 FINAL
Cal Poly 60
Central Arkansas 55 FINAL
New Mexico 76
Howard 45 FINAL
Pepperdine 53
Portland 73 FINAL
CS-Northridge 56 FINAL
Oregon 79
Grambling St 38 FINAL
Washington 86
Nevada 12/20/14 10:00 AM
Utah State 12/20/14 1:20 PM
Texas-El Paso
(23) Utah 12/20/14 2:30 PM
Colorado State
Western Mich 12/20/14 4:45 PM
Air Force
South Alabama 12/20/14 8:15 PM
Bowling Green
BYU 12/22/14 1:00 PM
Marshall 12/23/14 5:00 PM
Northern Ill
Navy 12/23/14 8:30 PM
San Diego St
Central Mich 12/24/14 11:00 AM
Western Ky
Fresno State 12/24/14 7:00 PM
Western Carolina 79 FINAL
UNC-Asheville 66
(21) Miss State 66 FINAL
Louisiana 51
(25) DePaul 109 FINAL
Loyola-Chicago 84
Liberty 64 FINAL
NC State 67
Elon 77 FINAL
Campbell 51
Akron 73 FINAL
UCF 64
Richmond 77 FINAL
UNC-Wilmington 67
Montana 70 FINAL
Seattle 64
(7) Stanford 46 FINAL
Chattanooga 54
Florida A&M 69 FINAL
Southern U 80
Oklahoma 72 FINAL
(13) Duke 92
Savannah State 56 FINAL
Auburn 62
Northern Colorado 43 FINAL
South Florida 84
Youngstown St 73 FINAL
Robert Morris 65
Siena 75 FINAL
Sacred Heart 65
Vermont 63 FINAL
St Francis-NY 61
(1) South Carolina 69 FINAL
Hampton 49
Fla Gulf Coast 91 FINAL
Bethune-Cookman 46
Texas Southern 92 FINAL
Houston Baptist 80
Northwestern 88 FINAL
Appalachian St 72
NC Central 52 FINAL
Coastal Carolina 67
Drexel 50 FINAL
Quinnipiac 74
Cincinnati 52 FINAL
Northern Ky 66
Alabama State 53 FINAL
Georgia Tech 77
Morehead St 69 FINAL
USC Upstate 75
Arkansas State 59 FINAL
Kent State 44
American Univ 60 FINAL
Manhattan 52
UNC Greensboro 60 FINAL
St Bonaventure 78
Arkansas-Monticello 56 FINAL
Northwestern St 61
Prairie View 70 FINAL
Sam Houston St 51
McNeese State 59 FINAL
(3) Texas 76
Yale 90 FINAL
Wagner 65
Oakland 61 FINAL
TX A&M-CC 54
Eastern Kentucky 62 FINAL
Alabama A&M 56
SIU-Edwardsville 47 FINAL
Northern Ill 69
McMurry 25 FINAL
TX-Arlington 82
Portland 65 FINAL
Eastern Washington 72
North Texas 42 FINAL
San Francisco 60
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters





question of the day

Poll: Do you like the Ervin Santana signing by the Twins?

Weekly Question