ORLANDO, Fla. -- Major League Baseball is finally expected to implement an extensive system of video reviews of umpires' calls next season, bringing it in line with the other three major North American professional team sports leagues.
The men who will be at the center of the system -- each of the 30 major league managers -- got an extensive look at the proposed system Wednesday during the Winter Meetings at the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort.
After meeting with MLB's playing rules committee, most managers remained hesitant to discuss replay at great length.
"Replay is obviously going to happen," Los Angeles Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "I think that there are some parameters that are set that are definitely going to give managers more tools than we've ever had in the past. I think the final format is being fine-tuned, but there was a briefing on the system, and we'll move forward and see how things go."
Last month, the 30 club owners unanimously approved funding for an extensive video system that would allow managers to challenge almost call from the umpires except balls and strikes.
MLB hopes to institute the system in time for the start of the 2014 season. However, the plan also must gain the approval of the Major League Baseball Players Association and the World Umpires Association.
Managers will get a maximum of two challenges that can be used at any point in the game. Challenges that are successful will not be charged against the limit. In other words, if a manager wins two appeals, he would still have two appeals at his disposal.
The new system likely will end most manager/umpire arguments because 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.
About the only situations a manager could still argue would be those not open to review, such as defending a player or questioning an improper substitution.
Until now, MLB employed a replay system that looked only at boundary calls on home runs -- fair or foul, and whether the ball left the playing field. Reviews of potential homers began late in the 2008 season.
Unlike the NFL, where head coaches throw red flags to challenge plays, managers will ask for review simply by calling timeout and meeting the umpiring crew chief. Managers will have until the next pitch to challenge a call.
All replays will be reviewed by a mix of current and former umpires at MLB Advanced Media's facilities in New York, with technicians available to provide the necessary video.
"We have a chance to be part of something pretty historic," Pittsburgh Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. "I think we all need to be likeminded on getting it right. Understanding that everything's not written in stone right now, but this is the way we're going to start. Can we adapt, improvise and overcome throughout this process? Very well, we possibly could."
Most managers expect that some bugs will need to be worked out in the replay system and that they will need to develop strategies on exactly when to issue challenges. However, they also believe it will be worthwhile.
"The bottom line is regardless of how you look at it, I think there is going to be a system in place that allows us as an industry to get the calls right," Colorado Rockies manager Walt Weiss said. "I think the umpires want that. Everybody wants that. The fans want it.
"And that committee has worked really hard to try to work out the kinks in the system. It's brand new. It's probably not going to be perfect. There may be some trial and error. I think that's expected. But I think they've done a really good job of putting this thing together, and I think it's going to go well."