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Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson responds to a question during a news conference after a full day's workout with the Texas Rangers during spring training baseball practice, Monday, March 3, 2014, in Surprise, Ariz. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)
MLB notes: Instant replay backs umps on first day
First Published Mar 03 2014 08:14 pm • Last Updated Mar 03 2014 09:37 pm

Challenged for the first time under Major League Baseball’s expanded replay system, umpires got it right.

The umps went 3 for 3 on Monday as MLB tried out the new format at three spring training games.

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The first test came at 3:06 p.m. EST in Fort Myers, Fla., after first base umpire Fieldin Culbreth ruled Toronto shortstop Munenori Kawasaki’s throw pulled Jared Goedert off the bag in the sixth inning.

"I’m not too sure that you’re not right here," Culbreth said Blue Jays manager John Gibbons told him, "but since we haven’t done it before, let’s go take a look."

Culbreth answered: "OK. That’s what it’s for."

After 2 minutes, 34 seconds, replay umpire Brian O’Nora relayed his call by headset, confirming that Minnesota batter Chris Rahl was safe. During the wait, Rahl said he realized he perhaps was part of history.

"It’s kind of funny. I was thinking, ‘Is this the first one?’" he said.

O’Nora made the final ruling from a satellite truck outside the stadium. During the regular season, umpires on the field will check with the replay booth in New York, where an MLB umpire will make the final call.

Later in the game, Culbreth rotated and took a turn in the truck, confirming another safe call at first base.

"I’m looking at this thing as, this is the future of the game. And I’m going to treat these games here the same way that I’m going to treat them during the regular season," Culbreth said.


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In the eighth inning, Doug Bernier of the Twins was called safe on a close play at first. As Culbreth studied the replay, the ballpark sound system played a Rolling Stones song with the familiar lyric, "I can’t get no satisfaction."

The call was confirmed, Bernier was safe.

Extra replay also was in place for two games in Arizona — the Los Angeles Angels vs. Arizona Diamondbacks in Scottsdale and the Chicago Cubs against Milwaukee in Phoenix.

Each team in the majors will have at least five exhibition games with the new system in place.

In January, owners approved the use of additional video replay to review most calls other than balls-and-strikes. Previously, umpires could only go to replay to review home runs and boundary calls.

‘12th man’ spills into Arizona

Russell Wilson has enjoyed spending time with the Texas Rangers. Yet the Seattle Seahawks are never far from the young quarterback’s mind.

While Wilson sat in the Texas Rangers dugout Monday in Surprise, Ariz., fans yelling "Seahawks" filled the spring training stadium.

"I couldn’t expect anything less," Wilson said. "The 12th man fans were unbelievable today. They’re everywhere. The 12th man fans are out in the outfield, they’re on third-base line, first-base line, chanting ‘Seahawks’ the whole way. Hopefully the Dallas fans didn’t get too mad."

Wilson threw for 3,357 yards and 26 touchdowns and helped the Seattle Seahawks rout the Denver Broncos 43-8 in the Super Bowl last month.

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