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Mike Matheny on instant replay: “the writing is on the wall”

Jun 10, 2013, 8:23 AM EDT

St. Louis Cardinals v Cincinnati Reds Getty Images

Cardinals manager Mike Matheny has been generally against expanded instant replay because, in his words, it could open up a “pandora’s box.” But he has changed his mind on that as of Saturday night.

That game ended on a blown call in which Joey Votto was pulled off the first base bag on a throw yet Carlos Beltran was called out anyway. The replays were clear, the umpire missed it and instead of the bases being loaded for a Matt Holliday vs. Aroldis Chapman showdown everyone walked to the clubhouse.  Yesterday he told Mike Bauman of that he has finally come around and that replay is both necessary and inevitable:

“You just want the right thing to happen … You’ve got a chance before you guys walk into your locker room to get together and try to figure out the right thing. The system isn’t allowing it.  I’ve always been kind of, ‘I don’t know,’ [on expanded replay] … But to get something, moving forward, for a play like that, it dictates a game. And I think you’ve seen enough of them this year. Major League Baseball would probably say we’ve seen too many of them. I think it’s one of those years when the writing is on the wall.”

I know people like to say that there is room for disagreement on replay. And, yes, I will grant that implementation of any new program will have its challenges. But there is no excuse not to get the calls right. There is no objection to instant replay which is as compelling as the argument that the proper calls need to be made.

  1. breastfedted - Jun 10, 2013 at 8:33 AM

    Go back on vacation, Craig. Hardballtalk’s quality decreases by your mere presence.

    • larrymahnken - Jun 10, 2013 at 12:08 PM

      Your name is Craig?

  2. heyblueyoustink - Jun 10, 2013 at 8:35 AM

    Everybody needs a good “showdon”.

    Like Don Rickles, or Don Geronimo.

  3. mdpickles - Jun 10, 2013 at 8:40 AM

    Before the pre-wildcard playoff format, a difference of one game may not have had an impact for playoff implications. Nowadays, one game can be huge difference. Replay must happen. Couldn’t they do it like hockey where there is a central command center and it reviewed? Have the third base ump that day have an earpiece that links to headquarters? Any other suggestions? It’s obvious that the human element is too noticeable.

    • wretchu - Jun 10, 2013 at 11:18 AM

      I’ve suggested the same thing. It’s probably the easiest and most effective way to implement it without adding a bunch of time to the game. No managers’ challenges, no sending the umpires down the tunnel to review it themselves. Just have a dedicated set of people always watching all games, reviewing it, and issuing the results to the umpires on the field. It’d add MAYBE a few minutes to every game, though in practice it’d probably cut down on the game time because then there’d be one less thing for managers to come out and argue about.

      And if managers do come out and argue a review decision, the league should come down hard on them. Instant ejection with a suspension afterwards.

  4. moogro - Jun 10, 2013 at 8:48 AM

    Where are the showdons of yesteryear?

    • recoveringcubsfan - Jun 10, 2013 at 10:19 AM

      Don Cherry still lives.

  5. ch0psuey - Jun 10, 2013 at 9:27 AM

    “For a good time call Sheryl 555-2122”

    Writings on the wall?

    • paperlions - Jun 10, 2013 at 9:49 AM

      You mean 867-530ni-eye-eye-ine?

  6. bucsfan5000 - Jun 10, 2013 at 9:28 AM

    Every year since Jim Joyce’s blown call, Bud Selig has promised to expand instant replay and he continues to refuse to do it. If a blown call decides game 7 of the World Series, he should be fired.

  7. Anoesis - Jun 10, 2013 at 9:34 AM

    They always come around when it happens to them. The writing has been on the wall for some time, it just takes the wall falling on some people for them to finally read it.

    • forsch31 - Jun 10, 2013 at 10:54 AM

      Funny thing is that last year, the Cardinals had a bad call hurt them in a game, and Matheny said he was still mostly against instant replay and leaving it with the umpires’ judgment. I think this is more about the rash of bad, horrible, game-deciding calls that have hit MLB this year, combined with the Cardinals’ turn in the barrel, that wore his stance down.

  8. hauntedbyhumans - Jun 10, 2013 at 9:35 AM

    Really the only “challenge” is to decide what to use it for. All you need to do is add one “umpire” and call him the “review official.” He sits in a booth during the game and when a questionable call arises, a manager asks for a review. They buzz upstairs, with a headset or something, the guy upstairs says yup or nope, and its all done in like 1 minute.

    • beebopthearcher - Jun 10, 2013 at 10:05 AM

      Far too reasonable and practical to ever be implemented.

      Alternate solution: Pretend that a guy on the field watching the play the instant it happens is going to be correct 100% of the time and stick by his call even when he is comically, absurdly wrong. Otherwise, we’re just teaching our kids that it’s best to always stick with your first decision, not matter how foolish it was.

      Plus, I like the added excitement of human error deciding which team is best.

    • wretchu - Jun 10, 2013 at 11:24 AM

      I mostly agree, but do it like NHL, not NFL. No challenges at all. If the replay official determines that a play is questionable, he buzzes down to the umps and play stops while he reviews it. The last thing we need is an manager losing the game on a bad call in the 9th because he used his challenge in the 7th. It’s even faster that way because then you don’t have to worry about managers stalling while they figure out whether to challenge the call or not.

  9. paperlions - Jun 10, 2013 at 9:50 AM

    Matheny is a whining whiner that does nothing but whine. This must be where they send guys to learn “The Cardinal Way”:

    • forsch31 - Jun 10, 2013 at 10:54 AM

      Methinks somebody hacked paper’s account….

      • paperlions - Jun 10, 2013 at 11:55 AM

        The comment was sarcasm (obviously)….and really just an excuse to post some Spinal Tap. I am severely disappointed in the HBT commentariat for their lack of appreciation of such a fine song/video.


        /throws free Reds tickets

    • stlouis1baseball - Jun 10, 2013 at 2:55 PM

      Look…it was funny. And I dig me some Spinal Tap. But it pissed me off at the same time.
      If that even makes sense.

      • paperlions - Jun 10, 2013 at 2:59 PM

        Oh, I understand. If the Cardinals whined 1/2 as much as Reds fans whine about the Cardinals whining, Reds fans might have 1/2 a point. But they don’t, so they don’t. If that makes sense.

    • stlouis1baseball - Jun 10, 2013 at 3:04 PM

      Wow. I read it three times. And yet…it makes sense. Makes total sense.
      After the Larry Jones article…those hideous Louisville Cardinals uniforms and your post about the whining somehow making sense…I need a beer. Or 12.

      • paperlions - Jun 10, 2013 at 3:17 PM

        I avoided the Larry article. I saw it, read the first few comments and thought “oh jeez, I’m staying out of this one”, and went back to work.

        You know, I never really cared much about the Reds, just wanted the Cardinals to win baseball games…but now, with the Reds (and their fans) seeming so intent on beating the Cardinals, I find if VERY satisfying when the Cardinals beat them.

    • stlouis1baseball - Jun 10, 2013 at 3:31 PM

      Absolutely Paper. That have grown into a very sensitive bunch. I refer to it as the “little brothers syndrome.” At first…they Cardinals/Reds rivalry wasn’t nearly as much of a rivalry as the Reds fans wanted it to be. It was still very much Cardinals/Cubs. Now…that has swung the Cardinals/Redlegs way. I am with you 100% about the vile drivel that seem to be spewing at increasing levels. My buddies not so much as they respect what the Cardinals organization has done. They routinely give me/them props on their professionalism. That in mind…today my buddy said Dusty and the Umpires “gave” the Cardinals the victory last night!
      I responded…”after that 11 – 4 shellacking you should be embarrassed about using the Umpires as an excuse.” It just never ends!
      Beat them like a borrowed mule and he/they want to “whine” about the Umpires.
      No…”hey…good job on coming back from 2 runs THREE TIMES during that game.”
      No….”hey…you guys never quit.”
      Yep…all Dusty and the Umpires.

      • paperlions - Jun 10, 2013 at 3:37 PM

        Wait. The umpires gave the Cardinals the game last night…but on Saturday they didn’t give the Reds the game when it should have been bases loaded, 2 outs, with Holliday up?

    • stlouis1baseball - Jun 10, 2013 at 3:43 PM

      Yep…and don’t think I didn’t bring that up too!
      It totally kills me. 7…count em’…SEVEN runs and it’s “between Dusty and umpires they gave you that game.” The Cardinals came back from two runs three separate times and blow it open in the 10th. But it was all Dusty and the umpires. Yeah…a sensitive bunch.

      • paperlions - Jun 10, 2013 at 3:45 PM

        Well then…that was very nice of the umpires (and Dusty), I appreciate their generosity.

  10. recoveringcubsfan - Jun 10, 2013 at 10:22 AM

    There is a faulty piece of logic at work here and it is that Mike Matheny thinks MLB is even the slightest bit bothered by these blown calls. I see no evidence to support his assertion.

  11. jm91rs - Jun 10, 2013 at 10:28 AM

    I’m with Matheny on replay, but are there views of that play that they did not show on television. I saw 2 views and they were so close it wasn’t possible to see if Votto’s foot came off the bag or not. I’m guessing Matheny and Craig saw something on a view they didn’t show on the regular broadcast?

    • forsch31 - Jun 10, 2013 at 10:57 AM

      If and when instant replay is instituted, the thing that everybody has to remember is that it’s not going to be failsafe. It’s just going to be an improvement, and hopefully erase the badly blown calls that should be obvious.

      Hockey uses instant replay with several goaltending cameras, and even they don’t always get it right. Always never happens.

  12. bkell2012 - Jun 10, 2013 at 10:45 AM

    Yep the Cardinal way,the best team in baseball . The best franchise in baseball over the past several years. The Cardinal way is why most of the other MLB teams are studying the CARDINAL WAY to see how they put a winner on the field year after year. Must be a Reds fan. 7 runs in the 10th inning , WOW!

    • blues1988 - Jun 10, 2013 at 11:51 AM

      dusty baker just ruined another pitchers career. poor young ginger…

    • jm91rs - Jun 10, 2013 at 12:23 PM

      I hope you realize 2 of the main architects behind The Cardinal way are no longer in St. Louis. One retired and the other is building something in Cincinnati.

      The Cardinals are clearly the superior franchise for now (and have been for awhile), but it’s not a magic formula called The Cardinal Way, it’s the people behind the team that made it that way.

      • stlouis1baseball - Jun 10, 2013 at 2:56 PM

        On point JM. Most impressive to me is their farm system. It really is where it all starts.

  13. styx630 - Jun 10, 2013 at 12:24 PM

    People arguing against something until it affects them personally? I’m shocked! SHOCKED!

  14. misterj167 - Jun 10, 2013 at 1:05 PM


  15. missingdiz - Jun 10, 2013 at 1:49 PM

    I was sitting in the 7th row on the 3rd base side and I could see Votto came off the bag. I assumed the ump was already focussed on the steak he was going to have after the game.

  16. theman1932 - Jun 10, 2013 at 2:32 PM

    Replay could have at least shown that Chapman’s pitch didn’t hit Carpenter…

  17. stevem7 - Jun 10, 2013 at 3:41 PM

    It’s LONG past time for Instant Replay to implemented completely, to include the assignment of a Supervisor Umpire at every ballpark doing the review right away and empowered to stop the game and go back to the point of the errant call and start from there.

  18. sfs1 - Jun 10, 2013 at 4:04 PM

    Matheny’s a douche. A little La Russa. As soon as something impacts him, it’s a necessary thing, before that point, it was just a bunch of whiners crybabying. He’s the kind of guy who shouts from the rooftops that welfare is a terrible system, but when he loses his job talks incessantly about how unemployment is the only think keeping his “deserving” ass afloat.

  19. bucsfan5000 - Jun 10, 2013 at 5:10 PM

    Selig makes Gary Bettman, David Stern and Roger Goodell look like they have a clue.

  20. stevequinn - Jun 12, 2013 at 6:44 AM

    In instances just like that play to end the game, the first base umpire should have gone to his partner at HP for help. That is, after Matheny asked him to. The problem here is the arrogance of umpires. They don’t care about getting it “right”, all they care about is not having their judgement questioned or be shown up.

    Until such a time as Umpires’ combative stances are changed, there will continue to be “blown” calls that effect the outcome of games and possibly playoff positioning.

  21. mrznyc - Jun 13, 2013 at 8:06 AM

    Pandora’s Box is the important phrase – Once opened it can not be closed – With instant replay the game, much like the present NFL, quickly becomes about the officiating and technology – what could be more boring than sitting around reviewing endless replays, milisecond by milisecond, rather than watching the sport being played by the athletes involved – Television is nice, it allows us to watch a game, but more and more television and whatever their latest gimick – in game interviews, super stat graphics, endless replays – are becoming the viewing experience and not the game being played. Television no longer is the observer, it is the story.

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