Opening Day 2014 might have been the only time anyone got excited for the umpires. That's because yesterday's games were the first ones where managers used their new-found ability to challenge an ump's call. (There were a few pre-Opening Day regular season games played without a manager's challenge.)
Here's how the rule works: Managers get one challenge per game that can be used through the first six innings. If they win the challenge, they get a bonus. If they lose it, they don’t get another shot. Check out Kid Reporter Jake Aron’s post from January for more about the new rule.
Yesterday, there were five challenges. Three were upheld, two were overturned. What was the first challenge? Glad you asked! It came during the Pirates-Cubs game. Chicago manager Rick Renteria thought a close double play wasn't a double play at all:
So the first challenge went the ump's way. What was the first call overturned? That happened in Milwaukee. Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez challenged the call that Brewers star Ryan Braun safely made it to first on a slow grounder to third:
With those first challenges out of the way, fans and managers can go back to politely asking the umpires, "Are you blind?!"
What do you think of Major League Baseball's new challenge system? Let us know in the comments section below!
Photo: Umpire Ted Barrett (65) listens to a headset during instant replay in the sixth inning of an Opening day baseball game between the Atlanta Braves and Miwaukee Brewers Monday, March 31, 2014, in Milwaukee. Atlanta got a reversal of a call against the Milwaukee Brewers Ryan Braun at first base. (AP Photo/Jeffrey Phelps)
Umps and Challenges in the Opening Day Spotlight