Let’s get the disappointing news out of the way first: No, Paul Mainieri won’t be throwing a red hanky if and when he wants the umpires to take a closer look at a call in any of LSU’s 30 Southeastern Conference games.
The SEC’s newly-implemented expansion of instant replay rules go into effect this weekend as LSU hosts Missouri for a three-game series set to start on Friday night. Six additional umpire calls may now be reviewed.
Also new for the 2018 season, the SEC has implemented an experimental challenge system for the head coaches. Each coach will be allowed two challenges per game, regardless of whether or not the calls in question are reversed.
“That’s going to be something,” Mainieri said. “I think it’ll have some impact, but I don’t think it’s going to have a major impact.”
Under the new rules, coaches will have 30 seconds to make a decision on whether to ask for a review. They can confer with players and assistants during that time but are prohibited from having a monitor in the dugout or asking for assistance from the clubhouse or press box.
“The only concern I have with it is if the camera work is going to be good enough to be definitive on changes,” Mainieri said. “When you look at college football games or College World Series games where they use 20-something cameras and have super-slow motion — we’re not going to have that capability. We’re probably going to have six cameras and a monitor in the umpires room to look at.
“You hope that some of it is going to be a bit more obvious, but we’re going to post charts in the dugout to remind me of what calls we can challenge and what ones we can’t.”
With that in mind, here are the six plays that are now reviewable in SEC games:
– Force/Tag Play Calls: Force and tag play calls involving the batter or batter runner acquiring the base prior to the defensive player’s attempt to put out the batter runner or runner at any base (including first base).
– Specified Base Running Calls: Calls involving whether a base runner passes a preceding runner before such runner is out; and upon an appropriate appeal by the defensive team, whether a base runner touched a base.
– Hit-by-Pitch Calls: Play involving a batter and whether a pitched ball touches a batter or his clothing (hit by pitch).
– Tag-Up Plays: Deciding if a runner failed to retouch his base after a ball is legally caught before he or his base is tagged by a fielder at all bases.
– Placement of Runners: The umpire’s placement of a batter runner or runners following a boundary call.
– Interference for the Purpose of Breaking up a Double Play (Force Play Slide Rule)
That’s in addition to the six calls that remain reviewable for all games, both conference and non-conference:
– Specified Fair/Foul Ball Calls: Deciding if a batted ball is fair or foul. The ball must first touch the ground or a fielder beyond the initial position or the first or third baseman.
– Potential Home Run Calls: Deciding if a batted ball is either a ground rule double or a home run.
– Catch Plays in the Outfield: Any catch or no catch in the outfield or foul territory.
– Catch Plays in the Infield: A call of “no catch” can be changed to “catch” within the infield only if it results in a third out with any runner on base, or any time with a batter runner only.
– Spectator interference: An umpire’s decision on whether spectator interference occurred.
– Scoring Plays at Home Plate (including collisions): Deciding scoring plays at home plate inclusive of collisions (illegal and/or malicious slides) or time plays.
Coaches challenge by placing both hands over their ears — mimicking someone wearing a headset, essentially — and ask the umpires to wait by raising one hand.