MLB

Instant replay will not fix everything

Share This Story

Jon Paul Morosi

Jon Paul Morosi is a National MLB Writer for FOXSports.com. He previously covered baseball for the Detroit Free Press and Seattle Post-Intelligencer. He began his journalism career at the Bay City Times in his native Michigan. Follow him on Twitter.

MORE>>
 
   
 

DETROIT

Umpiring controversies will endure even after the anticipated expansion of instant replay next year.

MLB STANDINGS

Who's clinched? Who's still in the playoff picture? Check all the divisional races.

Consider Saturday’s events at Comerica Park, which surely will serve as a case study for baseball officials studying the issue.

In the fourth inning of Detroit’s 6-5 win over Kansas City, Royals shortstop Alcides Escobar checked his swing on a 2-2 curveball in the dirt. Even though Escobar didn’t bring the bat around, he tipped the pitch after it bounced off the ground.

It should have been ruled a foul ball. Tigers catcher Brayan Peña figured it would be, so he didn’t retrieve the ball once it skipped away. But home plate umpire Mike Muchlinski saw it differently, ruling the pitch a ball because he didn’t notice Escobar had made contact.

Muchlinski conferred with the other umpires, but the original call stood. Detroit manager Jim Leyland argued and was ejected. Peña protested and was tossed, too. The umpires’ mistake affected the inning, because Chris Getz advanced from first to third on the “wild pitch” and scored on Escobar’s double.

None of that will happen next year, right? The umpires will check the replay and reverse their call.

Actually, they might not.

Remember: MLB officials have said consistently that balls and strikes won’t be reviewable. The commissioner’s office (correctly) wants umpires to remain the sole arbiters of that aspect of the game. And even though this call indirectly involved the advancement of a baserunner, it was – at its core – a question of Muchlinski ruling on a ball or strike.

When a pool reporter asked crew chief John Hirschbeck if a similar play would be reviewable next year, he said, “We don’t know. They said specifically balls and strikes, but it’s in the infancy stages. They haven’t told us any of the details.”

That fits with recent statements by Braves team president John Schuerholz, who is part of the committee studying the issue and told reporters some specifics of the plan are still being discussed. The system is based on each manager initially having three challenges per game.

My opinion: While I strongly support the expansion of replay, MLB needs to draw a line somewhere or risk incessant disruptions to play. Balls and strikes are a reasonable boundary. So – as much as I wouldn’t want an incorrect call to stand – instant replay should not be applied in future cases like this.

Not that I expect everyone to agree with me.

“But this is a foul ball,” Peña countered. “This is a checked-swing foul ball. It’s not like a ball or strike call, you know what I mean? This is not an inside pitch, down low, something like that. We’re talking about somebody who swung and hit the baseball. This definitely would have to be reviewable.”

I’m not so sure. As has been – and will be – the case for umpires, managers and players, the debate is far from over.

Tagged: Royals, Alcides Escobar

More Stories From Jon Paul Morosi

Member Comments

Please note by clicking on "Post comment" you acknowledge that you have read the Terms of Use and the comment you are posting is in compliance with such terms. Be Polite. Inappropriate posts may be removed by the moderator.

powered by



MLB Videos

Pineda caught again with suspicious substance Posted: Apr 24, 2014
Gabe Kapler and Charissa Thompson discuss Michael Pineda getting caught for a se...

Red Sox top Yankees after Pineda ejection Posted: Apr 24, 2014
Dustin Pedroia praises John Lackey for his performance on the mound against New ...

Rays downed by Twins in 12 innings Posted: Apr 24, 2014
Joe Maddon recaps the 6-4 loss to Minnesota.

SimLeague Baseball - Simulation Baseball Game

Fox Sports Store

    itemName itemURL imageSrc price itemDescription
    Nike New York Yankees Practice T-Shirt - Ash http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_New_York_Yankees/browse/featuredproduct/606363/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_606000/ff_606363_xl.jpg&w=100 27.95 Nike New York Yankees Practice T-Shirt - Ash
    Majestic Detroit Tigers 2012 MLB American League Champions Clubhouse Locker Room T-Shirt - Navy Blue http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Detroit_Tigers/browse/featuredproduct/1064043/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1064000/ff_1064043_xl.jpg&w=100 24.95 Majestic Detroit Tigers 2012 MLB American League Champions Clubhouse Locker Room..
    Majestic San Francisco Giants 2012 MLB World Series Champions Clubhouse Locker Room T-Shirt - Gray http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_San_Francisco_Giants/browse/featuredproduct/1067359/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1067000/ff_1067359_xl.jpg&w=100 24.95 Majestic San Francisco Giants 2012 MLB World Series Champions Clubhouse Locker R..
    Majestic San Francisco Giants 2012 MLB World Series Champions Clubhouse Locker Room Pullover Hoodie - Steel http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_San_Francisco_Giants/browse/featuredproduct/1067382/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1067000/ff_1067382_xl.jpg&w=100 54.95 Majestic San Francisco Giants 2012 MLB World Series Champions Clubhouse Locker R..
    New Era San Francisco Giants 2012 MLB World Series Champions Clubhouse Locker Room 39THIRTY Flex Hat - Charcoal/Black http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_San_Francisco_Giants/browse/featuredproduct/1067785/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1067000/ff_1067785_xl.jpg&w=100 31.95 New Era San Francisco Giants 2012 MLB World Series Champions Clubhouse Locker Ro..
    Majestic San Francisco Giants 2012 MLB World Series Champions Glory T-Shirt - Black http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_San_Francisco_Giants/browse/featuredproduct/1068294/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1068000/ff_1068294_xl.jpg&w=100 21.95 Majestic San Francisco Giants 2012 MLB World Series Champions Glory T-Shirt - Bl..
    Majestic San Francisco Giants 2012 MLB World Series Champions Batting Practice Performance Jersey - Black/Orange http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_San_Francisco_Giants/browse/featuredproduct/1068787/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1068000/ff_1068787_xl.jpg&w=100 94.95 Majestic San Francisco Giants 2012 MLB World Series Champions Batting Practice P..