DETROIT -- Tigers manager Brad Ausmus and his staff had a series of Spring Training games to practice challenges under the new replay review system. Opening Day started the process for real, and it took on a decidedly different feel.
Instead of looking at a television replay from a video room down the right-field line, having to rewind to the play in question, and communicating with the dugout through a two-day radio, defensive coordinator Matt Martin will have an MLB-installed high-definition system with which to review plays from a room just off the dugout tunnel. It's the same room Tigers pitchers used in past years to look at video between innings.
"The computer was up and running yesterday. It's down by the dugout for us," Ausmus said before Monday's game against the Royals. "And the phone line works. As far as we go, everything's a go. ...
"Spring Training was archaic by the standards of this new Hawkeye system that every stadium has."
The new system allows Martin to instantly review a play and relay a recommendation to the dugout. From there, bench coach Gene Lamont will send a signal to Ausmus, who can buy time by discussing the play with the umpiring crew, whether to challenge.
"It's a little bit awkward," Ausmus said of the argument, in the sense that you're really just trying to kill some time while your instant replay coordinator -- Matt Martin for us -- is trying to figure out whether we should challenge it or not. So, I may be blatantly honest and just tell the umpire I'm just killing time and just stand there."