What many thought was baseball entering the 21st century where officials can make sure they got calls right, has instead turned into, well, basically a clusterfuck.
This week has seen the Jays’ fearless, and awesome, manager John Gibbons, involved in a couple of replay-related incidents. Against Milwaukee he was ejected for arguing a replay call. There’s not much to say about that except: holy shit I didn’t realize how much I missed a good ‘ole fashioned manager-umpire confrontation.
But last night. Well last night was interesting. I haven’t seen any reaction from it yet, but it seems like we’ve found another area where the replay rules completely fall apart.
Here’s a link to the video:
So basically what happened was Kawasaki should have been out on the tag, which should have eliminated the force at home. But because he was called out, the force was still on. Catcher Stephen Vogt did what anyone would have done: caught the ball with his foot on the plate and looked to turn the doubleplay.
However, Old Gibbers challenged the call on Kawasaki, who, upon replay, was clearly shown to have been tagged. That meant there was no force at home, and since Encarnacion wasn’t tagged, he was safe at the plate and score what turned out to be Toronto’s lone run.
First off, credit Gibbons with a genius call. I’m not sure how many managers would have had the stones to make that challenge, or even how many would have thought of it. He took advantage of a part of the rule book that is murky. Good for him.
Second, that ain’t right, and it’s yet another problem with replay that I’m shocked no one thought about. The Athletics shouldn’t be penalized for an umpiring mistake. Vogt was only doing what he was supposed given the ump’s call. Had he made the right call on the tag, Oakland would have turned a 3-2 double play to end the inning. The throw beat EE by a mile.
This is something that’s going to come up in the future. These types of plays happen from time to time, and it’s not fair to penalize a defensive team for reacting to the umpire’s call.
It’s not something you come across in the other sports. In football, you don’t react to an official’s call mid-play. You continue to the whistle, and the replay can sort things out if need be. If the guy’s knee was down, or he wasn’t in bounds when he caught the ball then you just eliminate the rest of the play. If his knee wasn’t down, then the rest of the play stands. In hockey, the puck went in or it didn’t, you just drop the puck either way. In basketball…I’ll be honest, I have no idea how they use replay.
It should have been a 3-2 double play. There’s a 95 per cent chance that’s what would have happened if the ump made the right call. From now in any close play like that are players going to have to tag the runner just in case?
So lets just go back to the way things were, at least until we figure out a way to use replay that actually improves the game.