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Box containing the console for MLB instant replay reviews at Safeco Field. This console is located in the tunnel between the field and the umpires' clubhouse.

In Major League Baseball, a system similar to that in the NHL for the last month of the 2008 season and beyond was implmented on August 28, 2008. The system allows instant replay to be used to review boundary home run calls to determine:

A technician and an official (either an umpire supervisor or former umpire) monitor all games occurring at any given time from's office in New York City (similar to the NHL system). Though a player or coach may argue for a review, final determination of whether a review will occur lies solely with the umpire crew chief, usually after consultation with the rest of the umpiring crew. If a crew chief believes a replay is warranted, he will go to a special console installed at every ballpark – accompanied by one or more members of the umpiring crew – and call the technician using the phone attached to the console. The technician in turn will feed the appropriate footage to the television screen. Upon reviewing the footage, the umpire must see "clear and convincing evidence" that the call on the field was incorrect in order to reverse it. Additionally, in the case of a home run call that is reversed (e.g., to a double), the crew chief is responsible for the placement of baserunners where they should have ended up had the correct call been made.[1]

General managers voted 25-5 in November 2007 on this system.[2]

Further to their advertising deal with MLB during the 2008 season, all monitors used for the instant replay will be Sharp Aquos models.[3]

Instant Replay in MLB actually had been used once before in the 1999 season during a Florida Marlins home game at LandShark Stadium. This was the first instance in which instant replay was utilized in Major League Baseball.[4] While playing the St. Louis Cardinals, Cliff Floyd hit a ball off of the top of the left field scoreboard. Originally ruled a home run, NL Umpire Frank Pulli reversed the call to a double, after consulting a TV monitor in the Marlins dugout. The Cardinals would win the game, 5-2, and after the game, the National League Office declared the umpires erred in using Instant Replay. MLB would not use Instant Replay again for almost a decade.[5]

Replay made its official, sanctioned MLB debut at Tropicana Field on September 3, 2008 after Alex Rodriguez of the New York Yankees hit a ball near the left-field foul pole that was initially ruled a home run by third base umpire Bryce DePuy. Tampa Bay Rays manager Joe Maddon and catcher Dioner Navarro argued that the ball was foul and asked for a review. After a conversation among the umpires, crew chief Charlie Reliford allowed the replay to take place and after review, upheld the home run call.[6]

The first instance of an umpire's call being overturned by instant replay also occurred at Tropicana Field. On September 19, 2008, in the bottom of the 4th inning with two men on, Carlos Peña of the Rays hit the ball just over the fence in right field. The umpires originally ruled that there was spectator interference, but after several minutes of viewing replays, the umpires returned to the field and signaled it a home run, extending the Rays' lead to 9-0 at that point.[7]

Aside from the two aforementioned reviews at Tampa Bay, review was used four additional times during the 2008 regular season: twice at Houston, once at Seattle, and once at San Francisco.

On March 16, 2009, during the 2009 World Baseball Classic, instant replay appeared to have been used for the first time in the tournament's history at LandShark Stadium to give Venezuela a home run against Puerto Rico. The play in question involved the ball being hit into a space between the top of a left field wall and seats in the stadium only used for football games, with the ball coming back into the field of play. Initially ruled a base hit, the umpires went into the third-base side dugout where the replay would normally be reviewed. Crew chief Ed Rapuano stated in a postgame press conference that there was never any replay, because the "war room" in New York City was unable to send him a replay of the play in question. The umpires, two from the United States and two from Japan, then worked with a translator to make a final ruling. Three of the four umpires said they believed it was a home run, and when third-base umpire Hitoshi Watarida was asked by Rapuano if he was "110 percent sure" that it was a home run, Watarida said yes. Nearly 10 minutes after first entering the dugout, the umpires returned to the field and awarded the Venezuelan team with a home run.[8]

On June 19, instant replay was used twice in a game, during the game of the Detroit Tigers vs the Milwaukee Brewers, the first time in league history.[9]

On October 31, 2009, instant replay was used in Game 3 of the World Series when in the 4th inning, Alex Rodriguez hit a ball that bounced off the camera in right field. Initially played as a double, the umpires reviewed the play, and determined that had the camera not been in its location, the ball probably would have left the park, and a home run was awarded to Rodriguez, making the score 3-2[10]. The Yankees beat the Phillies in that game 8-5.




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