How Many Challenges Are In MLB? Explained

Have you ever wondered if the umpire’s call in a baseball play is correct? As a fan, you’re left with nothing but shouting at the wind. However, club managers can challenge the call to check if the umpire’s decision is correct or not.

MLB club managers can challenge as many calls as possible in a single play. This action constitutes as one challenge. However, the league only allows one Manager Challenge per game for each club manager during regular seasons. On the other hand, the MLB allows two Manager Challenges for the playoffs, all-star games, and tie-breaker scenarios.

Managers can take advantage of this special rule to contest plays that umpires might not see correctly. Officials would then review the clip to see if umpires made the correct calls or not.

Challenges in MLB

At its core, challenges in MLB are questions that managers ask to league officials, particularly umpires, to see if the officiating staff made the appropriate call. Each team playing will have one Manager Challenge to use at any time during a regular season match. However, the number increases to two for matches during the playoffs, all-star games, and tie-breaker events.

If a manager wishes to use his challenge, the Replay Command Center will be review the contested play. The experts handling the reviews are full-time Major League umpires. These employees work in this New York location in shifts while they’re not in the field.

The replay officials will then decide if there are changes to calls. If no changes transpired, these professionals will inform league members on the field. Furthermore, the replay staff will also provide clear and convincing evidence, regardless of the outcome of the challenge.

Managers of each team can use their one or two challenge rules at any time in the game, especially after a questionable call transpires. A manager can contest as many events in one play and it will still count as one Manager Challenge used.

What if the replay official overturns the challenged calls?

If so, managers can still keep their one or two Manager Challenges for the game. However, managers will lose their Challenges if the replay staff proceeds to review the footage. Once a club or team exhausts all of their Challenges, they’ll no longer have the power to contest any questionable calls during that game.

What are MLB Challenge Rules?

Any time during a game, an official, particularly a crew chief, can initiate a replay review. However, not every play constitutes to an allowable review. 

Here are the allowable calls that can be subject to a replay review:

How Long Can a Manager Use a Challenge?

Manager use challenge

Club managers have a maximum of 20 seconds from the call to inform the umpire about the contested play. Managers can inform umpires with verbal communication or hand signals. Additionally, the manager who requested the challenge cannot take back the decision once the umpire accepts the contest.

Team managers should also inform umpires about the nature of exercising their Challenges. Shouting and berating the umpire because of questionable plays won’t work in favor of the manager using the Challenge.

What is the History of Challenges in MLB?

History of Challenges in MLB

Although the MLB began in 1869, it wasn’t until August 2008 when the Manager Challenge rule surfaced. Replay reviews aim to help clubs to dispute calls, such as home runs or put outs, in case umpires make mistakes.

Six years later, the replay review expanded by giving managers only one Challenge at the beginning of each game. Additionally, club managers can challenge calls again if umpires or replay staff overturned the initial use of the rule. The league also expanded the guidelines to cater to a broader range of calls to question than before.

In 2015, the guidelines of Manager Challenges expanded again. This time, the official MLB rules state that managers can exercise Challenges more than once after each overturned call. Therefore, managers can signal challenges during specific innings even without approaching umpires in the field.

Then, in 2017, the MLB officiating staff altered the guidelines for this rule again. This time, the league now imposes a 30-second time limit for managers to contest calls. The timer begins after umpires made their calls. Additionally, on-field league employees aren’t permitted to delay games intentionally, which would otherwise provide clubs with extended periods to question calls.

If a questionable play results in a third-out call, club managers need to run to the field immediately to inform umpires that they’re going to use their Challenge. This 30-second window became 20 seconds before the start of the 2020 season.

What Happens if You Lose a Challenge in Baseball?

Lose a Challenge in Baseball

No significant repercussions will befall unto managers if they lose baseball Manager Challenges. Additionally, those managers who have their Challenges overturned can still use this rule again. But if the staff commits to the replay, managers will lose their one or two Manager Challenges, regardless of the outcome of the review.

Final Words

Challenges in MLB allow club managers to question calls made by umpires. Managers can contest different plays from home runs to put outs. But the league only allows one or two Manager Challenges per club, depending on the match.

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