Source: Baseball may try replay in Arizona Fall League

Updated: May 22, 2008, 9:31 PM ET
By Jayson Stark | ESPN.com

Major League Baseball is making tentative plans to experiment with instant replay in the Arizona Fall League, according to a baseball official with knowledge of those discussions.

If that experiment proves practical and successful, MLB then is likely to continue the experiment next March during the World Baseball Classic and spring training games.

If no insurmountable problems arise, baseball could begin using replay -- though only to decide home run calls -- as soon as next season.

A top baseball official confirmed to The Associated Press Thursday that he will formulate a proposal for instant replay, although he wouldn't put a timetable on a replay plan.

"The times are such that our fans are used to seeing all the high technology and they're used to seeing the other sports that use these systems to make determinations, and the fans are clamoring for all the sports to look at that," said Jimmie Lee Solomon, the sport's executive vice president for baseball operations.

What is yet to be determined is whether calls would be reviewed by a "replay umpire" in each stadium, as the National Football League does, or in the MLB offices in New York, a system that would more resemble the National Hockey League's.

Calls for some kind of instant replay system for home runs have arisen following a string of questionable home run calls by umpires.

On Sunday night, umpires at Yankee Stadium reversed their correct call and concluded a shot by Carlos Delgado of the Mets was foul.

A night later, umps in Houston mistakenly ruled a ball hit by the Cubs' Geovany Soto off a center-field wall was in play when it should have been a home run. Soto turned the hit into an inside-the-park home run anyway.

And on Wednesday night, a ball hit by Alex Rodriguez that struck a stairway beyond the outfield fence and bounced back into the outfield was ruled a double when it should have been a home run.

Last November, general managers voted 25-5 to try replay on boundary calls -- whether possible homers are fair or foul, if balls actually clear fences, whether there's fan interference. The recommendation went to commissioner Bud Selig, but had no binding effect or time frame. Nor did it offer a recommendation on how replay would be implemented.

Jayson Stark is a senior writer for ESPN.com. Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

Jayson Stark | email

Senior Writer, ESPN.com

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