Figure Out How Many Calls Baseball Manager Challenge Rules Have

John Means

Updated on:

Baseball Manager Challenge

Filled with thrills, Baseball is often your favorite pastime. To improve the quality of this game, even more, Major League Baseball has created a set of rules and guidelines. One such rule is Baseball Manager Challenge Rules where managers get an upper call. 

Earlier, we published detailed articles on Baseball DH Rules, Batting Rules, Rain Delay Rules including more. To be a well-revised fan of Baseball, do follow our articles. 

So what is the manager challenge rule? How it’s applied to the match & is it the ultimate game changer? Today, we will go into the details of the Manager Challenge Rules of Baseball. By the end of this article, it is all up to you to appreciate or judge the appliance of this rule. 

What is Baseball Manager Challenge Rules? 

Imagine this common scenario in baseball – the umpire calls a ball and the manager questions the eligibility of that call.
Umpires are professionals of the match. They have the ultimate power to determine the fate of the play. But they are human and to err is human. Thus, when a call made by an umpire is questionable to the manager of any respective team, the manager can challenge to ensure the fairness of the call.
And this falls under the Baseball Manager Challenge Rules. 

Key Points of Baseball Manager Challenge Rule: 

  • The baseball manager challenge rule has been a rule of controversy among critics and authorities. 

  • Each team manager can challenge one play during a regular MLB season and two plays during the All-Star, Playoffs, and Tiebreaker matches. 
  • MLB is however the last American league to adjust to the new baseball manager challenge rules. 
  • Replay officials ensure all possible video angles have been reviewed and an honest decision has been passed. 
  • Almost 40% of all reviews come for the tag plays on baserunners.
  • Most challenges are about 50% successful. However, this depends on largely the type of match and tournaments. 
  • Only 10% of reviews include fair/ foul ball, quick pitch, and others. 
  • Prior to 2014, only the umpire crew could request a review to replay. The umpire chief crew can still challenge a baseball match after the 8th innings. 

How Baseball Manager Challenge Rule is Applied? 

Each team is allowed one challenge per game. However, during the playoffs, the manager of each team will have 2 challenges. *A playoff or postseason is an additional tournament. It takes place after the regular seasons of Major League Baseball between the top competitors to figure out the league champion.  

Some other leagues like the All-Star Game, Divisional, or Wild Card tiebreaker offer 2 particular challenges to their managers. 

Strategy Behind Baseball Manager Challenge Rule

Major League Baseball implies a smart trick for the successful implementation of the manager challenge rule. Each manager has 20 seconds (from 2020; previously was 30 seconds) after each game to determine if he wants to play his one trump card -the challenge rule. 

Upon deciding to use the challenge, the manager has to inform the chief umpire. He can go and talk to the umpire or just send him a signal about the challenge. 

Each manager can challenge any reviewable calls such as home runs, boundary calls, fair and foul balls, base running calls, hit-by-pitches, tag-ups, home plate calls, and interference calls in baseball including all the outs and catches can be brought under replay.  

Professional replay officials look into the replays from the Replay Operations Center in New York City. They look out for evidence and pass down their decision upon further observation of the following facts:  

  • Confirmed: The call on the ground is confirmed because the umpire was clearly right. 
  • Stand: They can stand the call on the ground because the video replay wasn’t enough to overturn. 
  • Overturned: When the umpire makes a clear mistake and there is strict evidence against it. 

An umpire crew from the Replay Operations Center in New York City has only 2 minutes to determine the outcome and pass it down. Keep in mind that, a replay’s final decision is the endpoint. It is against the rules if someone goes against the final decision of the replay. Anyone who does that will be strictly prohibited from the match and removed from the field. 

Two scenarios arise in this case, 

  • The Manager Loses His Challenge: When the allegations brought by the manager are overruled or proved in favor of the umpire, the manager loses his one challenge for the rest of the game.
    Remember when Joe Mikulik, manager of Asheville raised an argument for a call? Well, it ended up in favor of the infielder to the umpire.  
  • The Manager Wins His Challenge: What happens when the manager wins the challenge? Well, here is the catch. When the manager wins the challenge, he can use it again in the season. Meaning, a win will give you one more opportunity to use the challenge again in the season.
    However, make sure not to lose your temper and get thrown out of the field as Jim Leyland from Detroit Tigers did in 2006. 

History of Baseball Manager Challenge Rule

Baseball Manager Challenge Rules have not been an old trend. It has been introduced recently in 2014; not more than 9 years ago. Earlier, no wonder why managers jumped to conclusions with the umpires in the field. 

Baseball Manager Challenge

The Baseball Manager Challenge Rules went through several phases. We will describe them in turns of years. Keep reading to find out: 

In 2008: 

It started all back on 28 August 2008. Major League Baseball recommended that managers can use replay reviews against umpires’ discretion. However, back then it was not made official to declare as MLB Rules. Thus, even though managers encountered umpire decisions with dissatisfaction, they hesitated to request a replay without serious accusations. 

In 2014: 

However, later in 2014, suggestions were set as rules for the first time. After that, there was no going back. Managers were able to use the challenges from this season. During this time, they were able to avail challenges two times provided that the first call is overturned. Then, the Replay Operations Center opts to review a much wider range of calls subjected by the manager. 

In 2015:

Around this year, the baseball manager challenge rules went through some important changes. This time, the managers were allowed to retain their challenge only after overturned calls. They can also signal a challenge during an ongoing inning.
It was in 2015 when the All-Star Game, Post Season Games, and Divisional or Wild Card tiebreaker games were offered with two challenges. That time in 2017, managers got 20 seconds to call for a challenge. 

In the following year, the list of calls to be reviewed was expanded in 2016. 

In 2017 & 2020

In 2017, the manager challenge rules were improvised again. And this time, managers were allowed 30 seconds in the regular season. However, back in 2020, the time limit was reduced to 20 seconds again.

We don’t know why MLB set a new time limit only to get back to the previous policy. But we do believe it was done for the betterment of the overall tournament and improve its quality. 

Modern Adoption of Baseball Manager Challenge Rules

In 2023 there has been modern adoption of baseball manager challenge rules. Still, now some exhibition tournaments allow their managers 15 seconds to come up with the challenge. The MLB replay team takes leverage of modern technology. They use Zoom to directly establish a connection with the field. 
Currently, the baseball manager challenge rule is applied more or less in all levels of baseball leagues. The rule has proven to be quite effective and affirmative for different potent contests. The goal of this rule is to deliver an honest and fair decision through deep observations and solid proof. 

Managers Can Ask for A Recall When: 

Each team manager is allowed only one review replay per game. When is the ideal opportunity to use the call? We are coming to that point here and below: 

Home Run Replays

Around 8% of the recalls are made over home runs; challenging in case it was a fair or four or the ball went over the wall. 

Any team manager can challenge an unusual home run that he suspects to be unfair. He can recall reviews over the umpire’s decision. The Replay Operations Center shall then see whether the ball went over the wall top or a fan caught the ball or the ball was fouled. 

Boundary Calls 

This includes non-home boundary runs. It is not unusual for a manager to think that a dead ball was made or the ball jumped off the ground or it was struck. In scenarios like this when the umpire has passed the decision in favor of the opposing team, a manager can challenge the umpire’s decision. This will go under non-home boundary calls. 

Force Play Replays

It is an act in baseball when a baserunner can’t legally engage with a base and forwards to the next base. When there is an unfair attempt to keep the baserunner out of the base and retire him from the match, managers can call for reviews. 

Outfield Catch Play

Before a ball touches the ground and a fielder catches the ball or he draws an outfield line, the manager has the right to challenge this call for better reviews. However, in case he encounters a defensive player and the ball gets caught infield, he is not allowed to challenge the call.
Managers are well aware of different scenarios in the game. Thus it is very uncommon for such null challenges to take place. 

Home Plate Collision 

When a baserunner gets in touch with the catcher although the collision could have been ignored with a slide, it is a strict violation of the home plate collision Rule 6.01 (i). The rule applies the same for any player who covers the plate.
However, in case a catcher or any player on the plate blocks the runner’s patch purposefully, the manager can request a review and challenge the move. 

Pitch Hit Replays

Hit by Pitch rule has been recently passed. And it states as followed: 

“ A batter must attempt to avoid being hit by the pitch. If he does not attempt to avoid being hit by the pitch then:

  1. a) If the ball is outside the strike zone when it touches the batter, the ball is dead, it shall be called a ball and the batter is not awarded first base.
  2. b) If the ball is inside the strike zone when it touches the batter, the ball is dead, it shall be called a strike and the batter is not awarded first base.” 

When a manager finds out a batter has been intentionally dealing with the pitch, he can call for a replay. 

Tag Ups and Interfered Double Play

It’s the runner’s fault! When a runner leaves the base before his time or reaches the base anyhow with the sole purpose to catch the ball, the opposing team manager can request a replay.
Plus, this is also the case with interfered double play. If a runner prevents the fielder to trigger a foul play, the manager can call for a replay. 

Here are some of the major calls when a manager can use his challenge. In short, whenever there is an unlawful act that might seem fishy to the manager, he can ask for a replay to maintain the fairness of the overall match. Other calls can involve Runners Placement, Baserunners Calls, Four, or Fair Play. 

Wrapping Up 

Baseball Manager Challenge Rules have been recently applied to the application. Although a few critics have been against the rule while some have opinionated discussions. We believe this rule offered managers the liberty to put their professional strength in the field and bring out the best in their team. If the umpire crew holds the right to question the eligibility of a play, the 

So, what do you think? Is the baseball manager challenge rule a blessing or something that somehow influences the match negatively? Leave a comment below to let us know. 

Photo of author

John Means

John Means is a professional baseball player who has played in the major leagues for the Kansas City Royals and the Oakland Athletics. He made his major league debut with the Royals in 2009. He was traded to the Athletics in 2012. Baseball is his favorite sport. His passion about the game is evident in his play. Now he write blogs about baseball and other things whenever he has some free time. LinkedIn

Leave a Comment