On Tuesday night, the Blue Jays welcomed a new era to their home stadium, setting up a replay booth only a few steps from the field. In the tunnel behind the first-base dugout, and behind a black curtain, umpires can now use Major League Baseball's new system for reviewing disputed home run calls.
Blue Jays general manager J.P. Ricciardi doesn't believe the new rules -- allowing reviews to determine if homers are fair or foul, over the wall or if they involve fan interference -- will come into play too often inside Toronto's domed ballpark, which boasts basic dimensions and wide foul screens down the lines.
"I don't think we have a tough park, really," Ricciardi said. "I don't really think they'll have a problem here."
Just in case, though, the instant replay booth exists. In some other ballparks, the umpire crew chief needs to return to the umpire's dressing room to review home runs. With Toronto's setup, the umpire in charge has quick access to the replays -- hopefully ridding of any lengthy delays.
Behind the black curtain, a telephone with a direct line to MLB Advanced Media's headquarters in New York, and a flat-screen television are concealed within a security box that hangs on the wall. The setup allows the crew chief at every Blue Jays home game to easily examine any suspect home runs.
Under the new initiative, when a home run is too hard to call simply by sight, the crew chief can place a call to New York, where a former umpire or umpire supervisor will be on hand. With the help of a video technician, a decision will be made in New York and relayed to the crew chief at the game.
"I think the umpires, for the most part, get most of them right," Ricciardi said. "I think once they go to replay, I would say its as close to concrete as it can be. The replay pretty much shows a lot of things. I think the replay will help more than hurt."
Jordan Bastian is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.Less