Bud Selig praises MLB's replay start

MLB commissioner Bud Selig answers a question during MLB commissioner Bud Selig answers a question during a news conference at MLB headquarters in New York on May 16, 2013. Photo Credit: AP / Richard Drew

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Red Sox manager John Farrell wasn't a big fan of expanded replay over the weekend, but Bud Selig had nothing but praise for the new system Tuesday, even after a few well-publicized malfunctions.

"It's two weeks old," said the commissioner, who spoke earlier at Major League Baseball's business diversity summit in Manhattan. "I've studied all the numbers. We've had very little controversy overall. When you do something new, it's like everything else we've done -- there's always a glitch or two."

One of the bigger glitches occurred Saturday, when Farrell's challenge to overturn a safe call at second base was thwarted by a missing camera angle. The replay showed that Farrell was correct in saying that Dean Anna's foot had come off the base while Xander Bogaerts applied the tag, but the umpiring crew told Farrell the central replay office confirmed the original out call.

Shortly after the game was over, a 7-4 Red Sox loss, MLB released a statement admitting the mistake. And as frustrated as Farrell was before Sunday's series finale, it only got worse when another replay challenge -- this time by Yankees manager Joe Girardi -- overturned a pivotal out call at first base that allowed the Yankees to score a run in a 3-2 victory.

Farrell was ejected for arguing that overturned call -- a first for a manager this season -- and later blasted replay as a whole, saying "It's hard to have any faith in the system."

Understandably, the Yankees weren't quite as annoyed, and principal owner Hal Steinbrenner suggested Tuesday that he's OK with the growing pains.

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"I don't expect any system to be perfect," Steinbrenner said. "It's no different than before instant replay -- you're going to get calls that go your way and you're probably going to get some that don't.

"No system is perfect. But it's a vast improvement over what we had and I think it's going to be great. From a technology standpoint, I think it's going great."

Heading into last weekend, expanded replay had overturned 21 calls through the first 138 games -- not including the two games in Sydney without the new feature. At that pace, MLB would have 370 overturned calls by the end of the regular season. But changing calls is not the primary concern -- getting them correct is -- and Selig is satisfied that's what has happened.

"You'll hear about the one or two controversies," Selig said, "but look at the calls that have been overturned. They got it right. I think we're off to a great start, but we'll continue to work on it."

Selig added that two of the architects of expanded replay, former manager Tony La Russa and former general manager John Schuerholz -- both MLB staffers -- told the commissioner they "couldn't have imagined" this good of a launch. Bob Bowman, CEO of MLB's advanced media, expressed the need for patience.

"Technology takes a while to work," said Bowman, speaking at a round-table along with Steinbrenner at the diversity business summit. "I don't know if you ever bought a new car. You don't know how all that stuff works right away. And if you ever get a new phone, it takes a while to learn it. We're under 30 days old."

With Will Sammon

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