SAN FRANCISCO -- The city that is home to Major League Baseball's current dynasty will also host the sport's second technology hub.
Commissioner Rob Manfred said Thursday that San Francisco will be the site for a second replay center as soon as next season. The current replay center is in New York, but a second center is planned for the MLB Advanced Media office on Third Street, a few blocks from the ballpark.
"At some point you want redundancy, meaning if New York goes down, there's someplace else you can go," Manfred said.
There is no exact timetable for the new center, but Manfred said it would be the only other replay center outside of New York. San Francisco was an obvious choice, he said.
"The proximity to Silicon Valley, for a tech company like MLB Advanced Media, is very important," Manfred said. "It makes sense to do it where you have an existing facility."
While Manfred twice mentioned the need to have a backup replay center, it seems likely that the San Francisco one could eventually be used for West Coast games. "There are scheduling opportunities there as well as the redundancy point," Manfred said.
(It simply doesn't make much sense for umpires -- many of whom are nearing retirement age -- to stay up well past midnight in New York and then make important calls for games that may start as late as 7:15 p.m. on the West Coast.)
"I think it would be good for the West Coast," manager Bruce Bochy said. "It would maybe help speed things up. I'm hoping this helps ... some of (the replays) have taken awhile."
One other thought: Manfred mentioning "if New York goes down" makes you wonder how often New York's replay center has gone down without the public finding out. MLB has been pretty secretive about what goes on in that room. Other highlights from Manfred's day at AT&T Park:
--- He said he is in favor of keeping the status quo with the All-Star Game, meaning home field advantage will still be up for grabs.
"Players care about who is going to have home field advantage and thus they play in a way that's more exciting for fans and better for our broadcasters," Manfred said.
As for fan balloting, the Commissioner thinks this Royals mess will sort itself out by the end of fan voting. He said fans will always be a big part of the vote, but if there's an issue -- like, say, Omar Infante starting the All-Star Game, "we'll be prepared to make changes."
--- The players and coaches met with Manfred in the morning and players lobbied Manfred to change the travel guidelines. The Giants hated the fact that they had a night game in New York earlier this month on a Thursday and then played a night game in San Francisco the next night. They have a night game in Washington D.C. in a couple of weeks and then a night game in San Francisco the next night.
"He says it's a work in progress," Bochy said. "He understands the players' complaint. It's something they're going to look at."
--- You know what we're not talking about today or ever? Catcher collisions. "That tells me (the rule) is working," said Bochy, who really pushed for the new guidelines.
--- Manfred reiterated that "my goal is to help the A's get a new facility, which they desperately need, in Oakland." As for expansion, he said that's possible down the line. The league has heard from Montreal, Portland and Charlotte in recent months, with all three cities lobbying for a team. (I will not complain if the first two are added to the travel schedule.)