Baseball replay could be in place by end of August

Updated: August 14, 2008, 11:41 AM ET
ESPN.com news services

WASHINGTON -- Major League Baseball is working out technical issues to start instant replay for boundary calls such as home runs, hoping to institute the system later this year.

"We've got lots of time in August," Bob DuPuy, the sport's chief operating officer, said Wednesday as a two-day owners' meeting began. "There's plenty of August still to go."

According to ESPN The Magazine's Buster Olney, as of Thursday morning at the owners' meetings, instant replay was a done deal, with all of the issues with the union being settled, and replay will happen "soon," according to one executive.

Commissioner Bud Selig, once a staunch opponent, appears to be more comfortable with the use of replay.

"We don't need a lot of lead-up," DuPuy said. "What we need is stuff installed, and what we need is people to make sure it's going to work, and what we need is for the umpires to understand the protocol. What we need is to make sure that everyone who's participating understands it."

A rash of missed boundary calls -- fair or foul, over the fence or not -- prompted the Selig to alter his opposition. Replays would not be used to review close plays on the bases or balls and strikes.

Also Tuesday, the owners' executive council approved Bill Neukom as the incoming controlling owner of the San Francisco Giants and also approved participation in the 2009 World Baseball Classic. Both are expected to be approved by the full ownership Thursday.

Neukom will take over from Peter Magowan following the season.

The owners also discussed the problem of blackouts in cities that are considered part of a major league team's market, even though fans in the city are not able to watch that team regularly on television. DuPuy said he wanted to collect more data and that the issue will not come to a vote until the next owners' meeting in November.

Information from The Associated Press and ESPN The Magazine senior writer Buster Olney was used in this report.

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