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It isn't often that you get to say a Grapefruit League game in the first week of March becomes a historic event. But Monday afternoon's contest between Minnesota and Toronto was just that, as it featured the first usage of MLB's new expanded replay and manager challenge system.
The utterly momentous occasion came in the bottom of the sixth inning with the Twins leading the Blue Jays, 8-2. With two out and a runner on second, Minnesota's Chris Rahl tapped a groundball to shortstop Munenori Kawasaki, whose throw pulled first baseman Jared Goedert off the bag. The umpire at first base, Brian O'Nora, ruled Rahl safe. Jays manager John Gibbons challenged the call, saying that Goedert's foot came down on the bag before Rahl got there. After some consultation, the umps decided to turn to the video, and after a couple of minutes, O'Nora's initial call was upheld. A closer look at the play shows that Goedert may have gotten his foot down and beaten Rahl, but presumably, the evidence wasn't conclusive enough to overturn the call.
Under MLB's new rules, managers are given one challenge to use any time in the first six innings. If the challenge goes the manager's way, he gets a second one he can use. No manager can use more than two challenges in a game. After the seventh inning, umpires may use replay on any reviewable call.
The umpires in Monday's game got another chance to review a call in the eighth inning, when Minnesota's Doug Bernier was ruled safe on an infield single. That play also stood as called, though the fans were apparently not too pleased with the delay.