With an eye towards the league’s new expanded instant replay system that begins as soon as the regular season starts, the Indians hired Gregg Langbehn as their major league Replay Coordinator.
Langbehn, 43, is a former minor league pitcher, coach and manager. His role is to view live video of the Tribe’s games from the home clubhouse at Progressive Field and in visiting clubhouses when the team is on the road and indicate when the team might want to challenge a call. He’ll have contact with Indians manager Terry Francona and the dugout via a phone line.
“We talked all winter about what qualities we’d look for,” Francona said. “(Langbehn’s) been a basketball referee, a football referee and a minor league manager. We felt those were pretty good qualities…For the longest time we were trying to decide is the technical part or baseball part more important? Then we went from there.”
Under the new system, managers have one challenge per game to use. If they use it and are proven correct, they get another one. Francona expects that one result of the new rules will be mnagers spending a lot less time arguing with umpries over calls and thus, less ejections.
"There’s really not going to be anything to blow up about,” he said. “You can either challenge it or not. So you can just go out and ask.”
Another point worth noting under the new system is that everyone – managers, fans and umpires – will all be looking at the same view of plays in question, as the replay the teams get will be the one used on the video board.