The use of video replay, originally implemented in 2008 at the Little League Baseball® World Series for the first time by any baseball organization, will now be available in every Little League Baseball Regional and World Series game this August.
“The expansion of video replay to the Little League Baseball Regionals shows the progression and evolution of the game in providing the participants the best possible experience,” said Pat Wilson, Little League International Tournament Director and Senior Vice President of Operations and Program Development. “What originally started with determining fair and foul calls on home runs at the Little League Baseball World Series has now expanded to the ability to review multiple plays at both the Regional and World Series level in an effort to support the volunteer umpires on the field and to get the call right for all participants in the games.”
This year, all 88 Little League Baseball U.S. Regional Tournament games will be broadcasted live across the ESPN family of networks. With the expanded coverage, Little League® International has decided to extend the use of video replay at these eight tournaments. The winners of these tournaments advance to the Little League Baseball World Series, held in South Williamsport, Pennsylvania, from August 18-28.
When the use of video replay was first introduced in a limited capacity in 2008 at the Little League Baseball World Series, the system was only used on two occasions during the course of the 32-game schedule, and in neither case was the call on the field reversed. It was the first time in baseball history that video replay was utilized, at any level of play.
Seven years later, during last year’s Little League Baseball World Series, a total of 25 video replays were requested by team managers, with 18 of the 25 originally made calls being upheld based on the results of the replay. The average time for video review during the 2015 Little League World Series was 26 seconds.
This year also marked the first time that video replay was used at the College World Series as an originally ruled foul ball down the right-field line by Coastal Carolina third baseman Zach Remillard was overturned and ruled a double, giving the Chanticleers a 1-0 lead on the play. According to the NCAA, the replay took four minutes and six seconds to complete, which was clocked from the time the umpire put on the headset until a final ruling is signaled. Replay has been available in the Men’s College World Series since 2012 but has never been used in a College World Series game until this year.
At the Major League level, the use of video replays have continued to grow as well. In 2014, Major League Baseball reported 1,275 video replays while last year’s report came in with a 15-percent increase at 1,338.
How It Works
Managers must specify the exact call that they would like to challenge. The only plays that may be challenged are: ball over the outfield fence, dead ball areas, batted balls ruled fair but foul or rule foul but fair, foul tip versus foul ball, hit batters, runner or runner-batter interference on batted balls, all plays at bases to get a runner or runner-batter out, appeal for missed bases (not if the runner left too soon), any out call made safe (umpire determines where to place the runners), pitched ball ruled “not caught” by the catcher, catcher interference, head-first slide into a base. The final play of all games are automatically reviewed.
Managers have up to two unsuccessful challenges in the first six innings, and one in extra innings. As always, a manager may request time and ask the umpire crew to review a play without officially challenging the play. Umpires may call for video replay on any play that qualifies for it, and may also ask for a review after a manager conference.
When a play occurs that fits the criteria for video review, a “Replay Team” composed of a Little League International Tournament Committee member (the Game Operations Replay Official) and a volunteer Little League Baseball Umpire, will review the play on multiple camera angles provided from the live broadcast. If the Replay Team believes there is clear and convincing evidence to reverse the call made on the field, the decision will be relayed to the Umpire-In-Chief. If there is not enough evidence to reverse the decision, or if evidence shows the correct call was made, the play will stand as called on the field.
How To Follow All Of The Action
While all 88 of the Little League Baseball Regional and World Series games will feature video replay this year, those broadcasted games are just a small piece of the approximately 1,600 regional tournament games that will be played this year across the globe. More information on all nine divisions of Little League Baseball and Little League Softball® tournaments, including a complete schedule of all televised games as well as results, can be found at Little League’s dedicated tournament website, LLBWS.org.
This year, with the help of its partnership with MLBAM, Little League fans will also have the opportunity to check out highlight clips and other video content from all 137 Little League World Series Tournament games broadcasted across the ESPN/ABC family of networks. The Little League-owned digital videos, including top plays, sportsmanship displays, and more, will then be featured on Little League’s online and mobile platforms, including social media and videos.littleleague.org.