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John Farrell says it’s “extremely difficult to have any faith” in instant replay

Apr 14, 2014, 8:08 AM EDT

Screen Shot 2014-04-14 at 6.50.12 AM AP

Just yesterday, as some folks were lamenting the allegedly lost art of managers arguing and getting ejected in the age of instant replay, a manager argued and got ejected for arguing over a call on instant replay.

The manager was John Farrell of the Red Sox and his anger came on what would eventually be called a fielder’s choice in the fourth inning. The play, which would give the Yankees their third and decisive run in the game, came when Francisco Cervelli hit into what at first glance appeared to be an inning-ending double play. That’s what umpire Bob Davidson ruled anyway. Joe Girardi came out to challenge it. After a three-minute review, the call was reversed, Cervelli was safe and the Yankees were awarded their third run of the game.

Watch the play here and judge for yourself.

It’s about as close as it gets from where I’m sitting. I think he’s safe. It’s certainly the case that if you called him safe, it’d be damn hard to say he was conclusively out on replay. This case was vice-versa, of course, so to make the call that the replay officials ultimately made, you had to say that he was clearly safe in order to overrule the initial out call. I’m not 100% sure you can say you had that here, but that’s what the replay officials said.

Farrell, whose Red Sox were victimized by a botched replay call the day before, didn’t think they had it. He came out to argue and was quickly ejected. After the game he was still frustrated:

“Extremely difficult to have any faith in the process that’s being used . . . We felt it was clear that the replay was inconclusive. Any angle that we looked at, you couldn’t tell if the foot was on the bag behind Mike Napoli‘s leg. Where this became conclusive is a hard pill to swallow. On the heels of yesterday, it’s hard to have any faith in the system.”

You can bet there will be additional fallout as the days go on. Heck, as the hours go on today.




  1. Kevin S. - Apr 14, 2014 at 8:27 AM

    If Kruk’s right about the “securing the ball” bit, I do think he’s clearly safe. Cervelli’s foot is on the bag and we can still see the ball. But yeah, the foot hit the bag simultaneously to the ball arriving in the glove. If that’s the standard, inconclusive.

    • timmmah10 - Apr 14, 2014 at 8:45 AM

      Tie to the runner, and I think the runner is ahead of the tie. I think it’s definitively safe. (not a fan of either team, so unbiased opinion.)

      Why does this mean there’s no faith in replay? If anything it seems pretty clear cut. I’d bet that 80 out of 100 unbiased viewers would say this player is safe.

      • chrisknowsbaseball - Apr 14, 2014 at 9:06 AM




        Nowhere in the history of any rulebook of baseball is there any such thing as “a tie goes to the runner”. This is a sandlot term that does not apply to professional baseball. This is an extremely close call to judge, but the use of that saying has always unnerved me a little bit.

      • yahmule - Apr 14, 2014 at 9:37 AM

        That’s correct. In fact, the three rules that deal with this situation actually confuse the matter. None of them directly mention the possibility of a tie, though, which is certainly possible, especially to the naked eye. This is a nice article about the possible interpretations.

      • lukedunphysscienceproject - Apr 14, 2014 at 10:15 AM

        He was safe. It was close, but he was safe. Farrell’s outburst was all about Saturday, and I don’t blame him for it. If he gets the call Saturday, there is no way he does what he did last night. He was venting, and trying to prove a point.

      • timmmah10 - Apr 14, 2014 at 10:53 AM

        OK – as an umpire, if you’re unsure of the call, the runner gets the benefit of the doubt. This is where “tie goes to the runner” stemmed, not the sandlot. It’s part of an umpire’s internal decision matrix. You can argue the rules, but this is a subjective call that happens before replay.

        Now, we get to the objective part. The replay clearly (read that again, CLEARLY) shows the foot hits in front of the ball, additionally, the ball must be secured before it is possessed. Therefore, this is clearly an out.


      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Apr 14, 2014 at 10:55 AM

        “a tie goes to the runner”

        Isn’t this a shorthand way of saying, “for a runner to be out, the ball has to beat the runner to the bag. therefore, if the ball and the runner arrive at the same time, the ball technically didn’t beat the runner, so the runner is safe?

        [note, no idea if that’s the actual rule or not, it’s absurd how convoluted baseball’s official rules are]

      • cultureworksvt - Apr 14, 2014 at 5:24 PM

        Any umpire will tell you that there’s no such thing as a tie.

  2. renaado - Apr 14, 2014 at 8:32 AM

    Wow… Certainly a very close play there. When the ball finally reached Napoli’s glove and the time Cervelli touches 1st base was exactly on the same moment. Really dunno whats the right call here. Well about the replay system, I can understand Farrel’s statements though but everyone should know the system is still pretty new so it’s still pretty much understandable and the trial and error method are still pretty much applied here.

  3. greymares - Apr 14, 2014 at 8:34 AM

    If the Yankees could go 0-162 I would be a happy man. BUT HE WAS SAFE.

    • aresachaela - Apr 14, 2014 at 8:46 AM

      0-162 !? HAHAHAHA XD! Yankees time to shine now this 2014 season!

  4. jm91rs - Apr 14, 2014 at 8:38 AM

    I think overall replay will help reduce some umpire mistakes, but man could this thing have gotten off to any worse of a start?

    • paperlions - Apr 14, 2014 at 8:55 AM

      I think it could have. I have seen many wrong calls corrected in the games I’ve watched this year. Every call that has been corrected is an improvement over not having replay.

      • jm91rs - Apr 14, 2014 at 10:41 AM

        It’s absolutely an improvement over incorrect calls, but the implementation has been anything but smooth.

      • paperlions - Apr 14, 2014 at 11:02 AM

        Right….but you asked if it could have gone worse. Yeah, it could have gone far worse. The system is just getting up and running. I doubt this has had any more hiccups than other review systems in sports. Even today, after decades, the NFL system is highly flawed and anything but smooth…..and no NHL fan would say that their system is flawless either, despite years to work out the kinks and the fact that it is only used to determine if the puck crossed the line or not.

        For the first couple weeks of a complex system…it has worked quite well.

  5. historiophiliac - Apr 14, 2014 at 8:38 AM

    I just came around to say I told you so to all of you who thought replay would solve things and want to eliminate the “human element.”

    /told you so dance

    • Kevin S. - Apr 14, 2014 at 8:41 AM

      You do realize that pretty much everybody who wanted to “eliminate the human element” hates this system, right?

      • historiophiliac - Apr 14, 2014 at 10:56 AM

        As you will hate all systems.

      • Kevin S. - Apr 14, 2014 at 11:38 AM

        I think we’ve clearly outlined a system we wouldn’t hate. At the same time, let’s not make perfect the enemy of better. So far this year, there have been 28 overturnee calls. That’s 28 times this flawed system has bettered the old.

      • historiophiliac - Apr 14, 2014 at 1:37 PM

        In your opinion.

      • Kevin S. - Apr 14, 2014 at 1:52 PM

        Seriously? Seriously?!? What’s next, “I know you are, but what am I?” Of course it’s my opinion. Just like your claims that getting more calls right isn’t an improvement and that I will hate all systems are opinions. Thank you Captain freaking Obvious. You intend on contributing today, or are you just trolling today.

    • DelawarePhilliesFan - Apr 14, 2014 at 8:48 AM

      Well – it did resolve things in so far as the right call was made. It did not resolve managers being poopie heads who complain anyway – but I don’t think anyone thought that would go away

      • historiophiliac - Apr 14, 2014 at 11:05 AM

        We are just trading ways that human fallibility impacts the game. It’s all dominoes, really.

      • Kevin S. - Apr 14, 2014 at 11:41 AM

        You’re too intelligent to actually believe that.

      • DelawarePhilliesFan - Apr 14, 2014 at 12:08 PM

        I’m dumb enough to believe anything :)

      • Kevin S. - Apr 14, 2014 at 1:26 PM

        I was actually agreeing with you. You can be a rather reasonable human being when you aren’t being a Philly homer. :-)

      • DelawarePhilliesFan - Apr 14, 2014 at 2:00 PM

        I know you were agreeing – and I’m actually far more reasonable and low-key than I often sound in posts….I’m looking around for a new editor 😉

    • happytwinsfan - Apr 14, 2014 at 9:13 AM

      nah han hah. we have the best of both worlds. calls are occasionally corrected by replay and we still get to watch manager tantrums.

    • yahmule - Apr 14, 2014 at 9:40 AM

      I totally expected the roll out to have problems. I’m still fairly lukewarm about it. If it wasn’t for things like Denkinger’s Blunder in the World Series or poor doomed Armando Gallaraga’s heartbreaker, I could just as well live without it.

    • illuminancer - Apr 14, 2014 at 1:57 PM

      I don’t want to eliminate the “human element”. I want to reduce the number of bad calls made by umpires. The current replay system is a tiny step in that direction, but it has a long way to go before it’s going to actually make a difference.

  6. craigssideburns - Apr 14, 2014 at 8:42 AM

    It was about as close as you can get to being inconclusive without being inconclusive. He was safe. Krukker explained it well.

  7. fleaman1381 - Apr 14, 2014 at 8:42 AM

    If what they said during the broadcast is true about securing the ball, then I think he was safe. I always thought it was as soon as the ball touched the glove… But so far replay has been hit or miss. Apparently the play from the day before was messed up because the MLB review didn’t have the same camera view as the broadcast. You would think that they would AT LEAST have the same view as the broadcast.

    • paperlions - Apr 14, 2014 at 8:57 AM

      I think you have to secure the ball. The ball is not caught every time it hits the glove….hitting the glove is not sufficient for a catch to be made….heck, according to the new and stupid interpretation of a catch, the catch isn’t completed until the player successfully transfers the ball to his bare hand.

      • fleaman1381 - Apr 14, 2014 at 11:16 AM

        Someday I should read the actual rule book instead of just going by what I’ve learned over the years. hahaha

        See, I always knew about the secure the ball thing for catching the ball. I just thought the “catch” at first base was loosely interpreted like the neighborhood play at second in double play situations…

  8. DelawarePhilliesFan - Apr 14, 2014 at 8:45 AM

    Very close, but safe. I think the angle from 2nd base is pretty convincing, the back heel has just touched the bag, and the glove is not closed.

    On this one, I don’t the Red Sox have any legit complaint. And I dislike both teams, so no bias for me

    • Francisco (FC) - Apr 14, 2014 at 10:06 AM

      But, but, but, but, which team do you dislike MORE?

      • DelawarePhilliesFan - Apr 14, 2014 at 10:34 AM

        Yankees….which doubles down on my comment that bias is not clouding my judgement. I think the over turn was the right call

  9. unclemosesgreen - Apr 14, 2014 at 8:49 AM

    Farrell was just letting off steam from getting beat out of a deserved replay call the day before.

    • DelawarePhilliesFan - Apr 14, 2014 at 8:58 AM

      beat out of a deserved replay call the day before

      I actually agree with you – just could not resist adding that!

      • unclemosesgreen - Apr 14, 2014 at 9:52 AM

        We all got it comin’

      • moogro - Apr 14, 2014 at 4:16 PM

        I got lucky in the order I shot them. But then, I always get lucky.

  10. bigharold - Apr 14, 2014 at 9:24 AM

    So much for instant reply eliminating managers arguing over bad calls. What next, sensors in the balls, gloves, bases and shoes of players to determine down to the millisecond weather a player is safe or out?

    And, he was safe!

    • sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - Apr 14, 2014 at 12:58 PM

      Well, they tossed him right away. And they got the call right. I think both points are positives.

  11. nbjays - Apr 14, 2014 at 9:34 AM

    Maybe it my natural skepticism coming through, but I get the feeling that Farrell has all the faith in the world in the instant replay system as long as the calls go his way. Had Cervelli been confirmed as out, or the call made to stand by being ruled inconclusive, we wouldn’t be hearing this.

    • kardshark1 - Apr 15, 2014 at 4:37 AM

      Except from the rest of the baseball world and fan base that can tell from one angle in about 2 seconds that he was without question, safe.

  12. tovarfan - Apr 14, 2014 at 9:49 AM

    The question is “are they getting more calls right with the new system than they got wrong before?”. It’s not perfect but it’s better than not having it. It’s new. It’s change. As another poster said, managers are only happy when it goes their way. Let’s be happy MLB is trying to change. Isn’t that what we all wanted last year?

    • 18thstreet - Apr 14, 2014 at 11:27 AM

      No, the question is: does it help us enjoy watching baseball games more? Because — hypothetically — a system that took a very long time and got 100 percent of the calls right would be inferior (to me) to a system that occasionally got a call wrong but kept the game moving. It’s not life or death. It’s sports.

      I think it’s premature to judge the system as a whole. I mean, maybe after every team has played 15 games, then it will be time to start rioting in the streets. For now? Sheesh. They’ll make some adjustments as the year goes on and some bigger ones in the off-season.

      And I say this as a die-hard Red Sox fan: if you score two runs, you’ll lose a bazillion percent of the time. I have no patience with blaming the umps for this loss.

      • tovarfan - Apr 14, 2014 at 1:50 PM

        Your point is well taken about the enjoyment of watching baseball games. That is key.

      • 18thstreet - Apr 14, 2014 at 2:23 PM

        Thanks. I swear, I’ve heard other sports’ announcers say — as the review drags on — “the important thing is, they get the call right.” Not for me.

    • grumpyoleman - Apr 14, 2014 at 1:10 PM


  13. pappageorgio - Apr 14, 2014 at 10:16 AM

    This is Farrell complaining about the night before. How can they judge a fraction of a second in this instance when they were so clearly wrong the night before?

    The guy looked safe last night but it was really really close. I honestly don’t see how they reverse that call (other than it being a Yankee home game). When it’s that close you go with the call on the field.

    • peymax1693 - Apr 14, 2014 at 1:09 PM

      The problem with the call from the day before was not that the umps saw every replay but failed to see that Anna’s foot was off the bag, it was that they never saw a camera angle that showed his foot was off the bag.

  14. brandonmauk - Apr 14, 2014 at 10:21 AM

    He probably wanted a makeup call for Saturday, and I don’t blame him. But that play ended up having little impact on the game, as the Yankees were already up by three and the Red Sox went down in order in the ninth. I’m surprised they were able to find “conclusive evidence” for the call last night. That was very damn close, but it was the right call. Won the game for the Yankees.

  15. djpostl - Apr 14, 2014 at 12:18 PM

    It isn’t a tough call. The tie goes to the runner. The video clearly shows what amounts to a tie, a play that was so close “ot could go either way”. The rule was enforced properly.

    He had legitimate beef the day before but he has none on this one. The entire series the Red Sox cried like spoiled children, an art form they have long mastered.

  16. deathmonkey41 - Apr 14, 2014 at 12:57 PM

    Quick- someone get him and Big Papi a couple of boxes of these!

  17. sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - Apr 14, 2014 at 1:00 PM

    Wait, someone on the Red Sox is angry about something?

    • sabatimus - Apr 14, 2014 at 2:33 PM

      Wait, how many mound visits were there last night by the Yanks? Talk about slowing down the game.

  18. sabatimus - Apr 14, 2014 at 2:27 PM

    The runner was safe, but the blown replay the day before was inexcusable. I think at least 70% of the reason Farrell blew up was because of the call at 2nd base (in which the people reviewing it in NY somehow didn’t have the right footage), and Farrell wanted to scream at somebody for it.

    The league thinks it’s improving things, but instead it keeps coming up with new ways to screw things up.

  19. mikhelb - Apr 14, 2014 at 3:43 PM

    A redsox protesting during a game? no way, that never happens.

  20. veracityguy - Apr 14, 2014 at 3:57 PM

    I still don’t understand why Farrell was arguing with the umpires after the call was reversed. Aren’t those calls made by MLB and not by the umps on the field? What good does pissing off the umpires do when they’re not the ones overturning the call? You might as well scream at the umps for paying $12.00 for a beer. They have about the same amount of influence on that too.

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