Posted on: September 19, 2011 2:51 pm
Edited on: September 19, 2011 3:23 pm

Flaw in replay system exposed yet again

By Matt Snyder

We have yet another example in a long line of examples that MLB's instant replay system is badly flawed. Monday afternoon, the Red Sox trailed the Orioles 6-4 with a runner on third base. David Ortiz sent a rocket down the right field line and it was ruled foul. Only one problem: Replays showed that the ball clearly hit the wall in fair territory, probably about one foot to the left of the foul pole (if you're facing it).

Ortiz would fly out to end the inning, and the picture at right is his reaction after said fly out.

Now, if there was no replay at all, this wouldn't be an issue. The human element -- as we so often hear as an excuse -- says the umpire just missed a tough call. The ball was hit incredibly hard and he was standing more than 100 feet away. It's understandable that he missed it.

What's not understandable is that Major League Baseball uses replay to determine whether a ball is a home run or not, yet doesn't use replay to determine fair/foul calls. It's very simple. The ball is either fair or foul. The technology is at our disposal. Yet it's not used. Can anyone justify this?

Even if the umpire didn't miss this particular call -- and I guess it's possible the ball barely grazed the wall in foul territory, I just don't think it did -- the point remains the same. Why isn't instant replay used on fair/foul calls?

The arguments against replay here don't hold any water. It's a boundary play, so there's no judgment whatsoever. The delay of the umpires conferring with one another and Red Sox manager Terry Francona's subsequent argument was longer than if the umpires had just looked at a video screen and realized it was a fair ball.

Even if the MLB still holds this "human element" near and dear to its heart on possible catches, plays at bases and with the strike zone, it has to at least admit that fair/foul calls are boundary calls just like home runs. You review one, so review the other. Or do neither. Pick one.

As things stand, it's just unbalanced. Kind of like only one league having a DH, huh?

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Category: MLB
Posted on: September 7, 2011 5:21 pm

MLB denies Phillies' protest

By C. Trent Rosecrans

The good news for the Phillies is they don't have another game to make up -- the bad news is the MLB denied the appeal by the team of Sunday's loss to the Marlins.

A short release by Major League Baseball had the news and little else in response to the use of instant replay to rule fan interference on an apparent Hunter Pence double. 

The Phillies main gripe was that it was not a situation covered under the rules of instant replay. With MLB upholding Joe West's crew's decision to use replay to determine what happened at the wall at Sun Life Stadium could be another step toward the expansion of replay. As someone who has called for more replay, it's tough to complain or have an issue with umpires getting a call correctly, and that's what happened on Sunday. The bottom line is the umpires got the most information they could and made the right call.

Philadelphia doesn't have an off day the rest of the season and has two doubleheaders scheduled, Sept. 15 against the Marlins and Sept. 20 against the Nationals. Any resolution of a game from Sunday's game would likely have had to be played after the end of the scheduled regular season and two days before the start of the National League playoffs begin. With a 90-48 record, the Phillies have homefield advantage wrapped up and would have no benefit from that one victory, so in the end, it's best for the Phillies they don't have to use another pitcher to finish the protested game.

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Posted on: July 12, 2011 5:22 pm
Edited on: July 12, 2011 5:35 pm

Selig: 'Modest' additions to replay coming soon

By C. Trent Rosecrans

PHOENIX -- Baseball will expand replay -- but this is just a loosening of the belt instead of an opening of the floodgates.

Speaking to the Baseball Writers Association of America on Tuesday, MLB commissioner Bud Selig said replay would expand next season, but those changes would be "modest."

"There will be some more replay, but very modest," Selig said -- and said the announcement would be coming soon. "I believe in the pace of the game."

Selig's only expansion on the topic was it would include "bullets down the line." Basically expanding the line calls from just home runs to close plays in play. It's a start, if anything.

The positive is that Selig is open to change and expanding the replay. If the replays with these work quickly, it could expand. However, if done poorly, it could hinder expansion of replay.

The current setup has umpires get together and then go inside the dugout to review a call. A better system would be to incorporate college football's system that has an official off the field that watches the play and relays the information -- or even the NHL system that has a central location in its headquarters that has officials watching all the games on TVs and reviewing goals. Either solution would cut down on the time needed to make the call and preserve the "pace of the game."

As for the umpiring as a whole, Selig said MLB officials review umpires "every day."

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For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed. For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Category: MLB
Posted on: January 11, 2011 10:58 am
Edited on: April 18, 2011 11:38 am

No changes to replay, playoffs for 2011

Bud Selig Expanded playoffs and instant replay may be coming to Major League Baseball, but not this year, commissioner Bud Selig told MLB.com .

"There continues to be fruitful talks about it, but they're definitely off the table for this year," Selig told MLB.com's Barry M. Bloom. "Really, I think that's what we've been saying all along."

Few expected the expanded playoffs this season, although there was some hope replay use could be improved for 2011.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb  on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.

Category: MLB
Tags: Bud Selig, replay
Posted on: October 24, 2010 6:04 pm
Edited on: April 18, 2011 12:10 pm

Instant replay isn't a panacea

In a season where the calls for replay to be used in Major League Baseball, the NFL reminds us that even with replay, humans still make the final decisions.

In Sunday's 23-22 Steelers victory at Miami , referee Gene Steratore made the call that the Steelers recovered a Ben Roethlisberger fumble in the end zone, despite the Dolphins coming up with the ball. Common sense says the Dolphins recovered the fumble and should have had the ball at the 20. Steratore said the rules state otherwise.

"After the review, it has been determined that prior to the ball crossing the goal line, the runner did lose possession of the ball," Steratore told the crowd. " However, by rule in replay, two aspects of this play must be available  to be viewed. Not only did we have to view the fumble being a fumble, we also have to have clear evidence of the team recovering the ball. After review, we do not have clear evidence of the team recovering the ball. Therefore Pittsburgh will have the ball, fourth-and-goal at the half-yard line. Miami will not be charged with a timeout and the clock will start on the ready for play."
Jeff Reed then kicked the game-winning field goal.

Steratore is the same referee who ruled Lions receiver Calvin Johnson didn't make a game-winning catch in September and called a questionable roughing the passer call against the Ravens the next week. Somewhere, Joe West is feeling bad for him.

No matter what kind of replay is added, the final call still comes down to a person interpreting rules written by a person, therefore there are always mistakes or at least the appearance of mistakes. Instant replay can help, but it won't solve all woes.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.

Category: MLB
Tags: Joe West, replay
Posted on: October 19, 2010 8:43 pm
Edited on: October 20, 2010 1:29 am

Replay used selectively for Yankees

fan interferrence If you're going to have replay, why not use it?

It looked as if the ball Robinson Cano hit was going out, but the fan in the Derek Jeter jersey had his hands over the wall and hit Nelson Cruz's glove. That's tough to see with the naked eye. Jim Reynolds was the umpire on the right field line and he was adamant the ball was out. It just seems egotistical not to look at it. If you're so sure you're right, the video will back you.

The instant replay can be used for fan interference, why not look at it in that case?

I'm don't think it would have been overturned, but what would it hurt to have looked? If the goal is to get it right, it wasn't even close -- you've got to look at that. In Game 3 of the Reds-Phillies series, a similar play -- one that wasn't even nearly as close -- was reviewed on a Chase Utley home run. The umpires saw it quickly, and upheld the call in about a minute. At least the replay would show the Yankee fan in the Jeter jersey was a lout.

Reynolds got it wrong again on Lance Berkman's apparent homer. The umpires did look at it and overturned the call. They got one right, at least. But both should have been reviewed.

UPDATE: The Star-Ledger 's Brendan Prunty spoke to one of the fans who reached over (clearly in the picture) the wall to get the ball.

"It was definitely over the wall," said 20-year old Jared Macchirole, a Penn State student from Queens. "It hit the cement before I got to it."

Of course, Macchirole is seen going clear over the wall to judge the ball that was "definitely over the wall" so his judgement may not be so keen.

Macchirole said the ball hit his brother Jay, sitting to his right, before it hit him.

After the play, TBS replays showed Jared Macchirole making obscene gestures at Cruz and yelling at him, which Macchirole (who is not turning out to be the state's best witness) denies.

"I saw him pointing at us," Macchirole said. "But I couldn't hear what he was saying. Everyone was celebrating."

UPDATE: The two claim to the New York Daily News that they didn't touch Nelson's giove at all. Although someone did, since replays clearly showed Nelson glove being smooshed. Of course, Macchriole reportedly denied making obscene gestures toward Cruz, which can be seen on many screengrabs across the internet.

"We didn't touch his glove," Jay Macchirole told the Daily News . "A lot of people were just going for the ball. He didn't touch his glove."

UPDATE: Texas manager Ron Washington didn't ask for a replay review, Reynolds said.

"From the angle I had, I was very confident that I got the call write," he told reporters (via the Fort Worth Star-Telegram ).

Crew chief Gerry Davis said after seeing the replay that he believed the crew got the call right.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed .

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com