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KBO managers want umpire review to precede video replay

All Headlines 10:12 July 21, 2014

SEOUL, July 21 (Yonhap) -- When the second half of the South Korean professional baseball season starts on Tuesday, the league will have a new twist to its review system.

Ahead of last Friday's All-Star Game at the Korea Baseball Organization (KBO), the nine managers agreed to adopt a "four-man review" system that will precede expanded video replay starting in the season's second half.

Earlier this month, executives from the KBO teams had agreed to expand video replay for the remainder of the season to cover safe-out, fair-foul and catch-trap calls, as well as to review whether an inside pitch has hit the batter. Currently, the league's umpires rely on video replay only for disputed home run calls.

The team representatives had said they would discuss specifics with the field managers at the All-Star Game. The bench bosses, in turn, said they wanted the human element first and technology second.

Under the managers' proposal, the four-man review will be done by an umpire who made a disputed call, the umpire crew chief, a third umpire on standby and a KBO official overseeing the operation of a given game.

According to the KBO, these four reviewers will rely on the television coverage of their game. In cases in which the game isn't being televised or instant replay of the disputed play isn't available, then the umpire's original call will stand and the manager may not protest the decision.

The managers said they wanted to allow the umpires themselves to decide whether a further review of the replay will be necessary.

"We feel that the four-man system will be the most appropriate way to ensure accurate calls while still respecting the umpires' authority," said Ryu Joong-il, manager of the three-time defending champ Samsung Lions. "Under this change, we're to ask for a review within 30 seconds after a disputed play. If it is the final out of an inning, then we have to protest within 10 seconds."

The KBO's umpires have been on the hot seat for most of this season with some high-profile missed calls. Before this season, the KBO brass had said the league would conduct feasibility studies on expanded video review and that it would consider making the move by as early as 2015.

At their meeting in May, the league's general managers discussed expanding video replay but decided to put the issue on hold until the end of this season, citing technical difficulties.

With the pressure mounting to make changes, though, the KBO caved in and decided to follow the example of Major League Baseball (MLB), which expanded its review process to cover fair-foul calls and force plays at bases, among other categories, starting this year.

Among other changes for 2015, the KBO teams will each play 144 games next season, up from 128 this year, with the addition of the expansion club KT Wiz in 2015.

In response to the change, the field managers said they would ask the league's board of directors to increase the size of the team's active rosters.

Currently, teams can sign up to 26 players to their active rosters and have 25 of them available for games. The managers said they would like to have 28 players on their rosters and have 26 of them ready for action.


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