PARADISE VALLEY, Ariz. -- Major League Baseball general managers, included for the first time in the quarterly gathering of club owners, held an uncommonly long meeting here Wednesday afternoon. But in four-plus hours of talks amongst themselves and with Commissioner Bud Selig and high-ranking members of his office, the topic of possible expansion of the use of instant replay hardly arose. Either that, or the general managers preferred to not reveal what had been discussed.
Upon exiting their meeting, various GMs declined to get into specifics discussed behind closed doors and deferred questions about the future of instant replay to Selig and his vice president for baseball operations, Jimmie Lee Solomon. "It was a subject on which we passed at our own meetings [in November]," said Yankees GM Brian Cashman, "and as far as the situation here, we'd rather you talk to Jimmie Lee." Asked later about whether wider instant replay would be a talking point at these two-day meetings, Solomon said, "No. It won't be a topic here." "We're pretty much universal in agreement to not expand instant replay," Solomon said. "So it isn't a topic we will be talking about. We have already sufficiently resolved that issue." So the possibility of instant replay expansion -- which became a hot-button issue in the wake of several glaringly missed umpires' calls during the most recent postseason -- is hardly the prevalent buzz at these owners meetings. Still, the proper forum for possibly addressing it will arrive only on Thursday, in the first meeting of Selig's recently formed 14-man Special Committee on On-Field Improvements. The Commissioner, on record as disfavoring use of instant replay beyond home run boundary calls, himself said of the subject of expansion, "I'll bring it up." "What I want is to discuss everything. I want to hear from [the committee members], everything that is on their minds." The Special Committee includes two of the general managers -- Baltimore's Andy MacPhail and Cleveland's Mark Shapiro -- who at their mid-November meeting in Chicago had similarly declined group discussion on something individually proposed by a few of them. At the conclusion of the GM Meetings, Solomon had acknowledged, "There are those who clamor for more and more instant replay. I think we need to digest what we've got. I know some [general managers] have talked off-line about the expansion of instant replay, but the Commissioner doesn't see any reason to consider it." Using replays to resolve home run calls -- fair or foul, fan interference and boundary calls -- was adopted by MLB in August 2008. Through its first year-plus of use, it was invoked 47 times, resulting in 15 reversals of the umpires' calls.