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The first overturned call via replay happened yesterday … and the first needless delay

Mar 12, 2014, 9:14 AM EDT

It wasn’t exciting, but a call was overturned by replay yesterday. It was a call on second base in which the fielder bobbled the ball, the runner was called out nonetheless, and then upon replay the umps reversed themselves:

Note that the replay itself — from the time the review was initiated until the safe call was quick. Only about a minute. However, the review was bookended by managers on the field, first with Lloyd McClendon arguing that maybe his man was safe then with Mike Scioscia arguing about the overturned call. So in all the process took around three minutes. And, oh, I thought managers were not allowed to argue replay decisions, so why wasn’t Scioscia immediately run from the game?

The technology appears to be working well so far. The human part of it all looks like it could be a drag. Baseball needs to get tough about the arguing immediately before it becomes a common problem.

  1. karlkolchak - Mar 12, 2014 at 9:17 AM

    “…why wasn’t Scioscia immediately run from the game?”

    I assume you mean tossed? Yeah, he should have been. One of my big concerns about replay is that it will slow the game down even further. Arguing a replay reversal is the epitome of pointless.

    • tedwmoore - Mar 12, 2014 at 9:28 AM

      Not for nothing, but “being run from the game” is a common expression.

      • karlkolchak - Mar 12, 2014 at 10:13 AM

        Interesting. Never heard that one before.

  2. scoutsaysweitersisabust - Mar 12, 2014 at 9:22 AM

    But if the managers don’t argue, how are they supposed to get thrown out of the game, thereby firing up fans, and more importantly their collection of 25 men who don’t really care that much if the manager is in the stadium or not? Stop taking away the human element of the game you fascist robot lover!

    • Jeremy T - Mar 12, 2014 at 2:54 PM

      Why would Craig only love the fascist robots? Seems discriminatory if you ask me.

  3. ez4u2sa - Mar 12, 2014 at 9:23 AM

    There’s a simple solution for this problem. The manager can toss a flag onto the field denoting his challenge. The umpire goes to him to learn what exactly he is challenging. If the manager leaves the dugout during the process, the challenge is cancelled and the manager is ejected. What could be more simple?

    • deep64blue - Mar 12, 2014 at 9:36 AM

      And how does that stop the OPPOSING manager coming out???

      • ez4u2sa - Mar 12, 2014 at 9:44 AM

        SImple. Any manager leaving the dugout during the challenge process is tossed. Period. Personally, I wish MLB had not taken this step but if they’re going to have it, don’t fool around.

      • aiede - Mar 12, 2014 at 10:10 AM

        The umpire now has a handy projectile with which they can threaten the opposing manager.

    • sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - Mar 12, 2014 at 9:58 AM

      I believe that is already the rule. The question here was about enforcement. Given that it was the first time, I am am OK with Scioscia not gett tossed or run or sent packing. Managers need to know that this stuff won’t be tolerated during the season. Managers also need to know that arguing a call before requesting a challenge is not really an option. If you think it was wrong, challenge. If not, zip it and let ’em play.

      • unclearnie - Mar 12, 2014 at 2:03 PM

        It was in the later innings when a manager can’t challenge a call. McClendon just made a pest of himself long enough for the umpires to decide to review the call on their authority.

    • Bryz - Mar 12, 2014 at 10:04 AM

      Baseball doesn’t need challenge flags. In a fast-paced game like football, then yes it’s necessary, but not in baseball.

      • clydeserra - Mar 12, 2014 at 10:30 AM

        “fast paced.”

        You know in that game, football, they have a clock between plays. Its only purpose it to make sure a team actually starts a new play before 30 seconds from the end of the last play.

        they needed to institute a rule that penalizes a team if they don’t play, think about that during the 4 minute tv time outs.

      • chadjones27 - Mar 12, 2014 at 10:37 AM

        Clyde, It is fast paced regardless of the clock. Unless there’s a time-out the offense can quick snap to get the next play in before a flag is thrown. That’s why the flags are needed in football.

      • stex52 - Mar 12, 2014 at 11:06 AM

        Fast paced? In football you have 5-7 seconds of action surrounded by about two minutes of sorting out the bodies, placing the ball, and getting ready for the next play. That’s if there wasn’t a penalty called.

        I never watch a football game without a book or magazine to read on the side.

      • Bryz - Mar 12, 2014 at 11:11 AM

        While there is a play clock, as chadjones27 said the offense can just hurry up to the line and quick-snap the ball. Plus, coaches can’t run onto the field (well, more than about 5 yards onto the field) without being penalized. Throw in twice as many players on the field as there is for a baseball game, and it can get hectic there.

        As for baseball, sure the pitcher can do a quick pitch, but at least the offense can counter it by simply stepping out of the box or calling time. If the defense wants to stall, well, they simply don’t pitch the ball. With no requirement for either team to hurry the game along, there’s no reason a flag is necessary to get an umpire’s attention in baseball.

      • nothanksimdriving123 - Mar 12, 2014 at 4:18 PM

        Bryz, FWIW, a baseball player cannot call time out. A player can only request such from an umpire, who does not have to grant it, though they usually do.

    • bfunk1978 - Mar 12, 2014 at 11:01 AM

      It was the 8th inning if my squinting is correct. I full-sized the video but it didn’t raise the resolution so it’s still not legible. So there’s no flag in this case.

      I agree that arguing after an overturn is grounds for immediate dismissal.

  4. RickyB - Mar 12, 2014 at 9:36 AM

    It appeared Scioscia wanted an explanation for why the call was overturned rather than argue it. Which he rightly deserves. If the umpires overturn a call, they really do need to explain why to the manager whose team it affects.

    • Craig Calcaterra - Mar 12, 2014 at 11:19 AM

      Every manager who comes out to the field to argue a call couches it as “wanting an explanation.” If replay is to move seamlessly, baseball can’t tolerate these “explanation seeking” events any more than it would tolerate a manager coming out and seeking explanations for every other non-disputable call.

      • granadafan - Mar 12, 2014 at 12:25 PM

        There’s no need to re-invent the wheel here. The umps can waddle over to the respective dugouts and explain to the managers what the video showed and the decision based off the replay. It’s done in football, basketball, and hockey. Baseball just needs to get with the times.

      • natstowngreg - Mar 12, 2014 at 1:04 PM

        You seem obsessed with speed. Which is odd, since a baseball game is full of delays. I’m looking forward to your crusades against batters stepping out of the box, overly long meetings on the mound, and pitchers not living by the time limit.

        Of course, the delay was caused by the managers arguing. Duh. Managers argue; it’s part of the job description. Yes, you can ban arguing replay calls (as arguing ball/strike callas is banned), but consider this. When was the last time you saw a manager ejected, and just walk off the field? The delay is likely to continue, because the manager is likely to continue arguing. Are you gonna arrest managers who don’t leave the field fast enough to suit you?

        Also, in blowing off RickyB’s comment, you seem to be sacrificing fairness for speed. Yes, Scioscia was delaying, but why should he not get an explanation? It doesn’t have to be a long one. To just make a signal and not explain it to anyone, for the sake of saving a few seconds, fails any reasonable standard of fairness.

    • The Dangerous Mabry - Mar 12, 2014 at 11:39 AM

      Explanation: “We looked at the play and we got the initial call wrong, so we changed it”

      I imagine that’s pretty much the explanation for every single call overturned on replay. There’s not a lot of value to be gained from delaying the game for that discussion.

      • historiophiliac - Mar 12, 2014 at 1:27 PM

        “Turns out he was out. Whaddaya gonna do?” The end.

      • RickyB - Mar 12, 2014 at 4:37 PM

        For some overturned calls (fair or foul, tag plays for safe or out), no explanation would likely be necessary. On this specific play, the camera angle on TV certainly wasn’t definitive on safe or out and showed nothing that would overturn the call. I imagine from Scioscia’s angle, it wasn’t definitive either. I would want to know what was seen on a replay (from another camera angle I would hope) to overturn what can be a very subjective, nuanced call. Did he have possession of the ball? And when turning a double play, middle infielders don’t necessarily secure the ball — they will at times use the glove to merely deflect the ball into their throwing hand. The way this call was overturned makes me believe that we will see many more safe calls when a fielder drops the ball while transferring it to throw. Because in reality, they don’t really catch the ball in order to save time turning the DP. So were out calls simply wrong before? It seems the standard may change on what constitutes an out in these situations, and I don’t know if that’s for the better.

  5. chacochicken - Mar 12, 2014 at 9:43 AM

    I’ve been watching a lot of ST games and the various announcers have been at best ambivalent about the idea. They all seem to assert that the replay will take 10 minutes and no sentient being can understand the catcher/homeplate collision rule. I am a bit more optimistic that getting a call right is worth a couple of minutes.
    On a related note, I once saw Mike Scioscia get into a heated argument with a parking meter.

    • unclemosesgreen - Mar 12, 2014 at 10:00 AM

      That meter had it coming. No one tells Mike Scioscia where to park. NO ONE.

      • chacochicken - Mar 12, 2014 at 11:00 AM

        I think he was unhappy with the meter’s low caught stealing totals.

      • unclemosesgreen - Mar 12, 2014 at 12:29 PM

        LMAO – Mike Napoli approves this comment.

  6. baberuthslegs - Mar 12, 2014 at 9:43 AM

    Managers, and players, are not familiar with the new system yet. Arguing is part of the game as they know it; hard to overcome that habit I’d say. Umps should warn each manager during spring games that they will be tossed for arguing a replay decision… and then follow up. Should have happened yesterday, as noted by the blogger and respondents.

    • baberuthslegs - Mar 12, 2014 at 9:52 AM

      Well, I should have watched the video before posting my comment. RickyB is right, Scioscia was getting an explanation, did not appear to be arguing at all. I stand by my comment that umps should warn teams about arguing a replay decision though, and MLB should address the issue of “getting an explanation” vs. “arguing”.

  7. sportsdrenched - Mar 12, 2014 at 9:56 AM

    It’s called spring training for a reason. Even for the Umpires and Managers.

  8. sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - Mar 12, 2014 at 10:02 AM

    I wonder if replay will inadvertently lead to more players getting tossed. Many manager arguments happen when a player starts to argue with the ump, then the manager comes out to run interference and spare his player. If managers are not allowed to argue, will players take it upon themselves to do so? Brian McCann is licking his chops now at the idea!

    • historiophiliac - Mar 12, 2014 at 11:40 AM

      Joe West tossed Verlander from a game once when he was already leaving. I think Scherzer got tossed from the dugout once. I don’t know that some umps need replay as an excuse to toss players whenever…but, yeah, it could make for good cover.

  9. brentsalish - Mar 12, 2014 at 10:21 AM

    Re Scioscia: First, it’s likely he’ll get run for similar behavior once the season starts If he’d been given the thumb immediately, this gang (including you, Craig) would have been all over the ump for “making the game about the umpires” and overreacting. Preseason testing is like beta testing a software product.

    Second, fans often like to see managers argue for a while at real games. (Spring training doesn’t equal real games. Nor, perhaps, do Mariners games….) Not for ten minutes, but 60 seconds of kicking dirt, getting in the ump’s face, and once a season ripping out and tossing a base excite the crowd.

    • karlkolchak - Mar 12, 2014 at 10:25 AM

      Not saying the home team fans don’t like to see their manager argue a bit, but arguing with a replay is akin to an old man shaking his fist at a cloud.

      • historiophiliac - Mar 12, 2014 at 12:54 PM

        Those clouds deserve it sometimes.

  10. clydeserra - Mar 12, 2014 at 10:58 AM

    there shouldn’t even be a manager coming out in the first place. the truck should be able to signal the umpires. I cannot believe how MLB is screwing this up. Wait, no, I can.

  11. spudchukar - Mar 12, 2014 at 11:37 AM

    In the St. Louis/New York (Mets) game there was also a challenge in the 9th inning yesterday, and the umps ended up still blowing the call. Cause it was just ST, it won’t get the significance it would during the regular season, but, not only did it take an eternity, the deciding crew still botched the result. Of course Angel Hernandez, who from the two times I have seen him behind the plate is actually getting worse, as if that seems possible, was the crew chief, so maybe he just over-ruled everything as he is wont to do.

    • billybawl - Mar 12, 2014 at 11:55 AM

      I didn’t see this, but if it’s true, we have to hope that umpires are going to get disciplined for ignoring clear evidence that a call was wrong. Otherwise, fans will turn their ire from Angel Hernandez to his bosses.

      • spudchukar - Mar 12, 2014 at 12:27 PM

        I just read that the Cards are taking this to higher levels of MLB. Not trying to make an issue of a ST game, but to get clarification on which camera angels the umps saw.

        It was an obvious screw-up, hopefully MLB gets this worked out before the season begins, are there are going to be a lot of unhappy fans and teams.

  12. granadafan - Mar 12, 2014 at 12:07 PM

    Old habits die hard. Managers will quickly realize that the replay is more accurate and will see the futility of making arses out of themselves as middle aged men by arguing, spitting, kicking dirt on the umpire, running off with the bases, pretending to throw grenades, etc.

  13. mikhelb - Mar 12, 2014 at 1:04 PM

    I think Scioscia was correct in asking an explanation because at some point it has been said that “vicinity plays” won’t be reviewable (when a fielder kicks dirt 1-2 meters off base to initiate a double play without touching the base and by convention it’s called an out even if its not in the rules).

    For me that should be reviewable to ensure that infielders do touch the base and are not just miming an out. Same for tag and run plays after a fielder catches a ball which wont be reviewable to check if the runner departed from the base at the correct time and yet a lot of in game video exists of that.

    • spudchukar - Mar 12, 2014 at 4:43 PM

      If you force infielders to maintain contact with the bag at time of Baseball arrival, each team had better stock up on middle infielders cause, because AA guys will be inserted into the starting line-up by the All-Star break, unless current rosters are all loaded with 2B/SS types.

  14. zdravit - Mar 12, 2014 at 1:31 PM

    This isn’t baseball. This is fackin retahded.

  15. mscxvd - Mar 12, 2014 at 1:45 PM

    Three minutes really isnt that long. I find it funny that at 3:19 some one in the background yells at scosia that he cant argue the call.

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