MLB’s New Challenging System: The Good, Bad and Ugly

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Before I share my thoughts on the newly proposed challenge system for baseball, here are the some of the “highlights” of the proposed system:

  • A review will be initiated when a manager informs the umpire that he wants to challenge a play. He will be allowed one challenge in the first six innings and two more from the seventh through the end of the game.
  • If the manager wins his appeal, he retains the challenge. The challenge from the first six innings does not carry over.
  • Not all plays are reviewable.
  • If a manager disagrees with a reviewable call, his only recourse would be to use a challenge. Managers would not be able to argue a reviewable call in a bid to get it overturned without the use of replay. A manager could still argue in situations not open to review, such as when defending a player or questioning an improper substitution.
  • Umpires at headquarters in New York will review all replays, with technicians available to provide the necessary video.

Now, I understand and applaud what the MLB is trying to do here, but I have a couple issues with the proposed system. First of all, the biggest “knock” on the game of baseball in this day in age is that the games are “too long and boring”. Is this going to help that?? Not in the slightest. In fact, now, you can have up to 6+ reviewable challenges a game. That doesn’t even include the possibility of managers defending their players on balls and strikes calls, etc.

Why does each manager need 3 for 9 innings? Especially when you consider that if they get the challenge right, they retain that challenger. Why can’t it be 1 or 2 total and then you get extra challenge in extra innings?

Also, based on numbers from, the proposed plan covers just below 90% of missed calls. That leaves things like check swings, hit by pitches, infield flies, etc, as judgment calls that are unchallengeable. Mainly because resetting the runners would become incredibly challenging.

With all that being said, I thing this progress, in the long run, will be a great thing for baseball, as well as serious baseball fans. There will be skeptics who don’t like how it slows down the game, but I think the MLB will continue to modify and perfect the system as much as possible until it becomes a system that is much more of an asset than a detriment.  

Lastly, Jim Leyland should use his first challenge as a retroactive one and go back to June 2nd, 2010 and give Armando Galarraga his much-deserved perfect game.

Tell me how wrong I am on twitter @Cole_Stevenson