WASHINGTON -- Commissioner Bud Selig said after the closing of Thursday's joint meeting of the 30 club executives that he could implement instant replay for disputed home run calls before the end of the season.
"I'm hoping we can get the bugs out sometime before the postseason," Selig said. "Whether we can make that timetable or not really hasn't been determined."
The owners, eight of whom sit on the executive council along with Selig, were briefed about the replay plan on Wednesday and the full body of executives heard the details on Thursday morning.
It was not an action item on either agenda and a vote by the clubs is not necessary for Selig to move forward and implement it. Substantial time has been spent by baseball operations on developing the plan since the general managers endorsed it with a 25-5 vote at their annual meetings late last year.
"Well, we're working on the whole instant replay situation -- it didn't need a vote," Selig said. "I'm quite satisfied that we're trying to get all the bugs out of it. It'll be very limited in its form, as you know. I'm a little reluctant to speak out about it until I know everything is working, but we are moving in the right direction."
Selig said that each of the 30 big league ballparks are currently being wired so that the chief of that particular umpiring crew can be in contact with a central location at Major League Baseball Advanced Media's offices in New York, where an official will review each disputed call.
The GMs determined this past November that they are in favor of one central replay location to review disputed home run calls, much like the National Hockey League utilizes in Toronto to review contested goals.
MLB would be the last of the four major professional sports leagues to utilize instant replay in some fashion. The National Basketball Association uses it to review last-second baskets at the end of each quarter. The National Football League uses it on a much wider scope to review a variety of plays.
But Selig reiterated that he wasn't ready to make an announcement about replay, at least not yet.
"Yogi once said that it ain't over till it's over so I want to be very careful," Selig said. "When we do it I want to make sure it's very good, that it's perfect. Somebody said today that there'd only been 16 [disputed home run calls] this year. I shouldn't say only -- 16 is a lot. They may have determined the outcome of 16 games.
"We have spent a lot of time doing a lot of checking. They're wiring 30 parks. And Chelsea [in Manhattan], where the headquarters will be at MLBAM, I've been over there to look at it and it's unbelievable. It's a lot of fun. But there's still work to be done and I don't want to put a date on it. Let's just say my confidence is growing."
Barry M. Bloom is a national reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.