Why so many? It's all about cameras, and camera angles. Some games -- depending on the telecast -- will have as many as 40 cameras from which to get a replay, but other games will have only eight cameras. On a tag-up play, it's unlikely that a separate camera can be set simultaneously on the runner's foot on the bag, and on the ball first touching the outfielder's glove. The same goes for obstruction and interference; there may not be a simultaneous camera angle on the runner and the fielder.
As for the neighborhood play, baseball is trying to become a safer game for the players. The contact around second base on the double play can be extremely dangerous. Asking a second baseman not to exit the bag a split second early when a 230-pound runner in metal spikes is bearing down on him is simply not necessary, or prudent. Anyway, most middle infielders are so quick and nimble around the bag, there aren't as many neighborhood plays as you might think. Infielders touch the bag with the ball, then avoid the runner, all so quickly.
"I think we'll find after this year that more plays can be challenged and reviewed," Showalter said. "But the replay system this year is going to show exactly how talented the players are. It will be like, 'Hey, he was out on that play.' It will, say, show what a great tagger a player is."
Will the use of a challenge become a strategic element for managers?
Maybe. A manager gets a maximum of two challenges per game, and only one if his first challenge proves to be wrong. So, he needs to be judicious about when to use the challenges. If the manager challenges a call in the first inning, and is wrong, what if another challenge-worthy call happens in the fourth inning, and the manager is out of challenges?
"It will be like having a great pinch-hitter on the bench; you have to pick the right time to use him," said Hall of Fame manager Tony La Russa, who served on the committee that made the decisions for expanded replay. Some see this as a delicious added element of strategy, but one manager said, "I totally disagree with Tony on this one. The challenge system is not about strategy; it's all about getting as many calls as they possibly can in a game."
How often will the crew chief invoke replay from the seventh inning on?
Hopefully, as often as it is needed. If the goal is to get as many calls right as possible, then any questionable call after the sixth inning should be reviewed. And before the seventh inning, if a manager is out of challenges, but requests that an umpire review a highly questionable play, hopefully the umpire will confer with his crew to see if anyone had a better look than he did. Most umpires, it seems, will be more willing to confer than ever.
How will the review room work in each ballpark?
Each ballpark will have an instant replay review room with a hard phone line that rings directly to the dugout. Each team will have a club employee in that room reviewing every play of the game. When the manager runs out to argue a call, and decides if he will challenge that call, he will look into his dugout and get a thumbs-up or a thumbs-down from a coach on the phone to the replay room.