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Arizona Fall League televises games to test instant replay

Bonus baseball! Five Arizona Fall League games will be televised this week, so you get to stave off baseball withdrawal syndrome for a little longer. But it's not for the good of our health: MLB will be testing out the new instant replay procedures.

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Major League Baseball have announced that the new review procedures for expanded instant replay will be game-tested during play at the Arizona Fall League, in five games that will be televised live on MLB Network from Tuesday, November 5th through Saturday, November 9th. Umpires will be assigned to the games, which will be observed by select MLB officials and Major League Umpires. Plays in AFL games will be called and challenged under the protocols of the newly designed instant replay plan that is now under consideration.

This is a test of the expansion of instant replay, currently scheduled for 2014, after a "brains strust" led by Atlanta Braves President John Schuerholz, MLB Executive Vice President Joe Torre and Special Assistant to the Commissioner Tony La Russa. Under the pilot scheme, a manager can inform the umpire he wants to challenge a play, though not all are reviewable. Managers get one challenge in the first six innings and two more from the seventh through the end of the game. If the challenge is sustained, he doesn't lose it.

If all goes well this week, and with any necessary tweaks, a recommendation on the new system for instant replay will be passed for approval to the Major League Clubs, though it also requires the agreement of the Major League Baseball Players Association (MLBPA) and the World Umpires Association (WUA). "The opportunity to test our ideas under game conditions with future Major Leaguers will be an important next step," Schuerholz said. "We look forward to examining new perspectives generated by play on the field and learning what modifications might prove beneficial before our committee issues our formal recommendation later this off-season."

Here are the games that will be shown on the MLB Network.

  • Tuesday, November 5, Mesa Solar Sox at Salt River Rafters
  • Wednesday, November 6, Salt River Rafters at Scottsdale Scorpions
  • Thursday, November 7, Scottsdale Scorpions at Salt River Rafters
  • Friday, November 8, Glendale Desert Dogs at Scottsdale Scorpions
  • Saturday, November 9, Peoria Javelinas at Salt River Rafters

All are evening games, with a start time of just after 7pm, except for Saturday's contest, which begins at 6:10pm. Four of them involved the Scottsdale River Rafters, which include the Diamondbacks prospects, so there will be plenty of opportunity to catch up on how our young players are doing. Anyone up for a Gameday Thread? I'll be posting an update on our AFL players a little later in the day, so we can use that today, and see if there's any interest the rest of the week.