So what strategy will managers use with the new replay rules coming to the majors in 2014? Since the crew chiefs determine what plays should be reviewed from the seventh inning on, the managers will need to use their challenge in the first six innings.
Should they use the challenge in the first inning, if needed, or wait for later in the game?
Since a manager that challenges a play that gets changed gets a second challenge, I think managers will use their challenge early in the game if they see a play to do it on. If they feel certain they'll win the challenge, why not use it early, get the benefit of it and then have another challenge for later in the game?
I guess you can never be sure your challenge to a play will be upheld, but if its pretty clear then why not use a challenge, even in the first inning?
It will be interesting to see how strategy plays out on this. We could also see managers simply challenge the first play they deem needs to be challenged and if they lose the call, so be it. I would think we won't see that a lot. Why challenge a play that you are not certain to win? Maybe in the sixth inning you would do that rather than lose the challenge, but maybe not earlier in the game.
Meanwhile, the O's Triple-A affiliate, the Norfolk Tides, made the official announcement a few days ago that they'll host the Orioles for the final exhibition game two days before the Orioles open the 2014 season at home against Boston.
Here is the Tides press release:
The Norfolk Tides announced that the Baltimore Orioles will play an exhibition game at Harbor Park on Saturday, March 29. Presented by BB&T, the game will feature the Orioles taking on the Tides, with first pitch scheduled for 3:05 pm.
"We are extremely excited that the Orioles will once again be showcasing their talent at Harbor Park this spring," said Tides President Ken Young. "Baltimore has been such a great partner for us, and this is just another example of the dedication the Orioles have to the Tides organization and the Hampton Roads community."
"We are excited to once again complete our spring training season in Norfolk," said Orioles Executive Vice President of Baseball Operations Dan Duquette. "The Hampton Roads area has been very supportive of our organization and we are pleased to have the opportunity to play in front of our fans at Harbor Park."
Tickets for the event will go on sale to the general public on Saturday, March 8 at 10 a.m., with box seats available for $25 and reserved seats available for $22. Tides season ticket holders and corporate sponsors will receive notification regarding early ticket purchase possibilities. Fans will be able to purchase tickets online via norfolktides.com, in person at the Harbor Park box office, at Ticketmaster outlets, or via telephone at 1-800-745-3000.
This will be Baltimore's fourth appearance at Harbor Park since the Tides became the club's Triple-A affiliate in 2007. Harbor Park hosted exhibition games between the Orioles and Washington Nationals in 2007 and 2009, while the Orioles and Tides squared off prior to the 2012 season.
The Tides open their 2014 regular season at Harbor Park on Thursday, April 3 with a four-game series against division rival Charlotte. Season tickets, group tickets, picnics and patios are currently available for the 2014 season. For pricing and additional information, stop by the Harbor Park Box Office, visit norfolktides.com or call (757) 622-2222.
Click here for a trip down memory lane. I covered that game in Norfolk in April 2012 and check out the O's lineup for that game with Nick Johnson batting fifth and Chris Davis eighth.
Sad anniversary: It was one year ago today, as some Orioles fans were beginning to arrive for FanFest, that news was spreading that Earl Weaver had died early that morning. Earl's No. 4 hung above the main stage in tribute. It was sad, of course, but also a day to remember a man who had as much to do with the Orioles' great tradition over the years as anyone. Here is a story from that morning.