Saturday, August 17, 2013
Expanded instant replay is coming to a baseball field near you in 2014. It's just unfortunate that it won't be here any sooner than that. Like tomorrow.
Major League umpires are getting worse by the minute, by the game, by the climate... Calls continue to be grossly missed and are impacting the outcome of games.
The Yankees were the victims twice on Saturday in their 6-1 loss to Boston. I'm not saying that the outcome would have been different, and the bad calls are happening to every team. (A blown tag up call that went against. the Angels helped the Yankees rout the Halos a few days ago.)
Alfonso Soriano was called out when he attempted to steal second base when he was clearly safe. Dustin Pedroia made a nice swipe tag, but umpire Fieldin Culbreth called him out despite being right on top of the play.
A more egregious call came with the Red Sox batting in the 4th inning. Already up 1-0 on a Lyle Overbay throwing error, the Red Sox had runners on first and second and pulled off a double steal. With switch hitter Jarrod Saltalamacchia batting from the left side, the Red Sox tried to take advantage of Alex Rodriguez playing off the bag at third.
Catcher Chris Stewart hit A-Rod in stride with his throw and the embattled third baseman brought the tag down on Mike Carp for a clear out. The only problem was third base umpire Bill Welke committed a double mistake. He was out of position and made the call on the run. Actually there were three mistakes; he called Carp safe.
If things played out as they did, Salty struck out, the inning would have been over and the score would have still been 1-0. Instead, Will Middlebrooks and Jacoby Ellsbury singled in runs for a 3-0 lead against Hiroki Kuroda.
As far as the expanded replay goes. Each manager will have one challenge in the first six innings and two more in the final three innings and any extra frames. The manager will not be allowed to argue a call that they plan to challenge. Like the NHL, there will be a command center with officials reviewing the play. MLB expects the process to take a one minute and 15 seconds, which is, at the very least, laughable.1
Managers will retain any challenge that is successful. Not all calls can be challenged - hit by pitch being one of them.
Finally, perhaps the people of Twitter are right; it's time for robot umpires. They couldn't be worse than Jerry Meals.
(Might want to let catchers throw the ball back to pitchers too - http://sports.yahoo.com/video/umpires-throw-hits-peacock-174900096.html )
1 - mlb.com