MLB has officially implemented expanded video replay for the 2014 season. Some of the reviewable plays would include: hit-by-pitch, confirming if a runner tagged-up, and reviewing if a player actually caught a ball. It excludes forces at second base (the neighborhood play), interference or obstruction, and general balls and strikes.
Each team is allowed to challenge one call, and if upheld, can choose to review another call later on. During the seventh inning and beyond, the umpire crew chief can decide to review a call.
A big change included in all this is that any team can now show replays on their own ballpark video screens at their own discretion. This will allow some fan involvement in the game as their reactions may help sway their managers to challenge a call. All managers do, however, also have the ability to have a member on staff who can review replays away from the dugout, and who can discuss these potential reviews via their bullpen phone.
While getting calls correct is of course a great thing, whether everything runs smoothly is yet to be determined. Some concerns have been whether these reviews, or even potential reviews, will bring about unnecessary delay. Will a pitcher make a few extra pick-off attempts to first so that his manager can talk on the phone with his replay guy?
Another scenario is whether a manager would try to exhaust his ability to review before the seventh inning, hoping the crew chief will review any further calls on his own. Would a manager go out and try to talk an umpire into reviewing a call late in the game?
A manager could also use the opportunity with the sole purpose of getting their bullpen arm a few extra pitches to get warm.
In any case, expanded replay will definitely make watching games both at home and at the ballpark a different experience next year.
Now that expanded replay is here, here’s a look at some plays in Blue Jays history which we wish we could have had the opportunity to challenge.
October 20, 1992 – The Triple Play that Wasn’t
This is one of the worst calls in World Series history. David Justice hit a deep fly ball which Devon White ran down and made a leaping catch, up against the outfield wall. Because Terry Pendleton passed teammate Deion Sanders, there was an automatic second out. The ball came back to the infield where Kelly Gruber chased Sanders back to second base. He dove and tagged Sanders on the foot for the triple play. But Bob Davidson missed the tag and called Sanders safe. It wouldn’t be the last time Davidson would blow a call to hurt the Jays.
July 19, 2008 – Beyond the Chalk
Roy Halladay was on the mound against the Rays pitching a great game into the sixth inning when Mike Dimuro ruined things. After Carl Crawford chopped a roller along the baseline, Halladay waited until it went foul before picking it up. But when Halladay did, Dimuro thought the ball was still fair and Crawford was safe at first. A furious Halladay continued to pitch, but ended up giving up another hit, and then a grand slam to a young Evan Longoria.
April 9, 2011 – Escobar’s Alleged Runner Interference
The frustration of this bad call is mostly due to it being in the 13th inning in Anaheim. Encarnacion hit a ball between second and third which Alberto Callaspo charged for as Yunel Escobar ran to third. The throw pulled the Angel’s first baseman off the bag and Encarnacion was ruled safe, Lind scored. But Bob Davidson would blow one for the Jays again, calling runner interference on Escobar. Here’s a closer look at it here.
It is worth noting that if a play similar to this happens in 2014, it will not be reviewable.
July 5, 2011 – Varitek’s Phantom Swipe Tag
With two on, two out, in the bottom of the ninth, the Jays were down by one run. John McDonald hit a blooping fly ball that landed in front of the Red Sox outfielder, who then made a good throw to the plate. Encarnacion slid to avoid the tag by Varitek, but umpire Brian Knight called him out.
After the game, then Jays manager John Farrell was frustrated by the call:
“It was clear that Edwin did a good job sliding around the plant leg of [Varitek]. But his swipe tag missed him by no less than a foot. So right now, we should be out on that field playing.”
August 22, 2013 – Two Bad Calls, One Play
Tied in the fifth inning, Yankees DH Vernon Wells hit a liner to center field, which Rajai Davis made a great snag on. It was unfortunately ruled a hit, and a Yankee runner scored from third. Chris Stewart ran back to second thinking he needed to tag, and as he did Ichiro Suzuki started back to first. But when Suzuki realized the pay was ruled a hit, he went back to second. Kawasaki tagged him before he got to the bag, but that call was also missed. John Gibbons was ejected after that mess.
It would be good to have a challenge on this one, but a play like this would also take more than a few minutes to review via replay.
Do you remember any other calls you’d like to have been able to challenge?