Gregg Langbehn Hired as Replay Coordinator
With expanded instant replay in place for the 2014 season, the Indians were in desperate need of a replay coordinator. Well, the Indians got their man. On Tuesday, they announced that Gregg Langbehn would be the man in charge of watching video from within the depths of the clubhouse to determine whether or not Terry Francona should challenge a potential missed call.
Make no mistake about it, this is a big deal. With the expansion of instant replay and the instant replay system in Major League Baseball, being able to challenge and accurately overturn a missed call could be huge. How often do divisions and wild card spots get determined by one win or loss in the standings? How many times have we seen a blown call come back to bite a team somewhere down the line?
Langbehn will be in charge of watching Indians’ games on video equipment inside Progressive Field and all of the other stadiums. He will be in contact with the Indians’ dugout by phone and will notify Terry Francona when it may be in his best interest to challenge a play. Under the new system, Francona will have one challenge per game. If he wins his challenge, he will be granted a second challenge, thus why it is critical to be as close to certain on any challenge. From the seventh inning on, the umpires may initiate instant replay.
As for the hire and the process, Francona had the following to say:
“Gregg will be in the clubhouse somewhere and there will be communication to the dugout,” said Francona. “I’m assuming it’s a hardline. It will be our responsibility to communicate with him in a timely fashion and then we’ll make our own decision (on whether they should use a challenge).”
Francona said Langbehn will most likely make the first call to the dugout.
“I won’t call him because if there’s something going on, I’ve got to go out on the field,” said Francona. “In some instances, where it’s the third out of an inning, you need to go out to show the umpire you’re thinking about it (challenging the call). If you don’t, you lose your chance.
“There’s some learning to do for sure.”
So as you can see, the Indians are well aware of the possible obstacles standing in the way as they begin utilizing the instant replay system. But, with a coordinator in place, they can begin the process of understanding the process. Expect plenty of bumps in the road, but the Indians won’t be alone. The other 29 teams in Major League Baseball will also be dealing with the same issues. The team that learns how to make the best use of the system will be at the best advantage. Hopefully, that’s the Indians.