How replay could have altered history
Tired of MLB umps getting crucial calls wrong that cost your favorite team?
So is Bud Selig.
Like how the NFL allows coaches to challenge three calls a game?
So does Bud Selig.
And now the commissioner is ready to do something about it, as owners are voting on a new rule that would allow managers to challenge one call in the first six innings and two more calls in the final three innings.
Wow, right? What could this have meant for some players and teams over the years who were robbed by horrible calls? Well, let's take a look back at some of the worst calls and what might have happened if the umps were able to look at replays.
Denkinger curses the Cardinals
You really can't start any talk of bad calls without bringing up the name of Don Denkinger. Remember him? He's the ump who called Kansas City Royals second baseman Jorge Orta safe, when he was clearly out, at first in the ninth inning of Game 6 of the 1985 World Series.
What happened: The Royals trailed the Cardinals 1-0 in the ninth and were just three outs away from losing the World Series when Orta was called safe. The Royals rallied for two runs to force a Game 7, which they won going away, 11-0. The Cardinals obviously never recovered from that horrific call.
What would have happened with replay: Orta would have been called out at first, the Cardinals would have then gotten the next two outs and Ozzie Smith would have done backflips all the way down I-70 back to St. Louis. And if anyone ever said "remember Don Denkinger?" the answer would be a resounding "WHO?"
The perfect game that wasn't
What happened: Only needing one out for the perfect game on June 2, 2010, Galarraga covered first on a ground ball and clearly reached the bag before Cleveland's Jason Donald. Players celebrated for a second and the TV announcer yelled, "He's out! Nooooo he's safe!" in total disbelief. So long, perfect game. Nice one-hitter, though.
What would have happened with replay: The umpires would have clearly seen that Joyce had blown the call and Galarraga would have his perfect game. Oh, and we would have never been subjected to seeing Joyce cry on TV, which would have been great because seeing grown men cry on TV can be a little awkward, unless it's on some reality show where dating and roses are involved (then it's just funny).
Play-in game controversy
What happened: Tied 8-8 in the bottom ninth, Colorado's Matt Holliday slid into home to score the winning run. The only problem? He never touched the plate. He was called safe, the Rockies celebrated a thrilling victory and later advanced to the World Series, where they lost to the Red Sox.
What would have happened with replay: Holliday would have been called out, the Padres would have scored a run in the 10th and held on to advance to the playoffs where they would have gone unbeaten en route to their first of three-in-a-row World Series titles. OK, maybe the Rockies still would have won the game, but it doesn't matter because neither team would have beaten the Red Sox that year*. (*I'm from Boston)
The no-hitter that was (but shouldn't have been)
What happened: Cardinals outfielder Carlos Beltran stepped up in the sixth and belted a line drive down the third-base line that ... was ruled foul even though it hit the foul line so squarely that it left a mark in the white chalk. The call stood and Santana went on to make history.
What would have happened with replay: Beltran would have wound up at second base where he belonged, Santana would have been pulled shortly thereafter and he'd be pitching for the Mets this season. Remember, he threw 134 pitches that night and never seemed quite right after that game. The Mets then shut him down for the year last August and now he's out all of this season after re-tearing the capsule in his pitching shoulder. Way to go, Mets!
Oh, and the Mets would still be one of two major-league teams without a no-hitter — the other being the San Diego Padres.
A kid saves the Yankees
One of the most valuable players in Yankees history never played for the Pinstripes. Hold on, what? That's right, and the player wasn't even a player, but a 12-year-old fan of the team. Yup, we're talking about Jeffrey Maier.
What happened: The Yanks were trailing the Orioles 4-3 in the eighth inning of Game 1 of the 1996 ALCS when Derek Jeter lifted what looked like a lazy fly ball to right field. Maier did what any 12-year-old would do — he reached out over the wall and caught the ball, which umpire Rich Garcia, to the absolute dismay of right fielder Tony Tarasco, called a home run. The Yankees went on to win the game and later win their first of four World Series titles in a five-year span.
What would have happened with replay: The umpires would have called fan interference, Jeter would have been ruled out, and the Orioles would have gone on to sweep the Yankees. Joe Torre would have then been fired, Jeter would later be traded to the Royals for 52 prospects and the Yankees would be so bad for years to come that they wouldn't even want to go after Alex Rodriguez. Also, Maier would probably be able to visit Baltimore without looking over his shoulder.
All this makes us wonder: What would replay have been like in 1884? Allow clever Twitter handle OldHossRadbourn to explain:
Replay, 1884: Skipper: I challenge your ruling, sir! My batsman was safe! Umpire: He was out! And now he is dead. *Shoots batter*— Old Hoss Radbourn (@OldHossRadbourn) August 15, 2013