SBD/April 14, 2014/Leagues and Governing Bodies

Red Sox' John Farrell Unhappy With Overturned Replay; Some Managers Question New System



Farrell said it is extremely difficult to have any faith in MLB's new replay system
The Red Sox' John Farrell during last night's game against the Yankees became the first manager to be "ejected for disputing a play that was reviewed on replay after umpires reversed their call on what would have been an inning-ending double play in the fourth inning," according to Gordon Edes of ESPN BOSTON. First base umpire Bob Davidson initially called Yankees 1B Francisco Cervelli out at first. Yankees manager Joe Girardi "challenged the call, and after consulting MLB's replay center, crew chief Brian O'Nora announced that the call was reversed." Farrell said, "We felt that it was clear that the replay was inconclusive, and the frustrating part is that when this was rolled out and explained to us, particularly on the throw received by the first baseman, we were instructed when the ball enters the glove -- and not that it has to hit the back of the glove -- is where the out is deemed complete." He added, "Any angle that we looked at, we couldn't tell whether (Cervelli's) foot was on the bag behind [1B] Mike Napoli's leg, so where this became conclusive is a hard pill to swallow." In Saturday's Red Sox-Yankees game, Farrell asked umpires to "review a call at second base," replays of which showed Yankees SS Dean Anna "lifting his foot off the bag" while Red Sox SS Xander Bogaerts was "applying the tag." But after a replay review, umpires "allowed the call to stand" (, 4/13). Farrell said, “As much as they’re trying to help the human element inside this system, it seems like it’s added the human element at a different level" (PROVIDENCE JOURNAL, 4/14). Farrell added, "It’s extremely difficult to have any faith in the system being used." In Boston Dan Shaughnessy writes MLB Commissioner Bud Selig is "not going to like that one." Managers have been "fined for saying less" (BOSTON GLOBE, 4/14). 

WORKING OUT THE KINKS: In Boston, Scott Lauber writes all the Red Sox were "left with was anger over a replay system that has gone against them twice in as many days." Red Sox C A.J. Pierzynski said, “You guys have seen a lot of ‘problems,’ I think would be a good word to use. A lot of weird things have happened, like (Saturday) when they couldn’t get the feed. I don’t know how you can’t get a feed when you have 47,000 cameras looking at everything. There’s a lot of kinks in the system right now. They’ll get it figured out, hopefully" (BOSTON HERALD, 4/14). Also in Boston, Michael Silverman writes Farrell's "outburst may wind up being the catalyst for an overhaul of a well intended but inadequately deployed process." If MLB was "not sure it had work to do on the instant-replay system, then it is well aware now" (BOSTON HERALD, 4/14).'s Ken Rosenthal writes something is "terribly wrong" when TV viewers are "getting better access to conclusive angles than the umpires" at the $30M Replay Operations Center. Rosenthal: "Patience is indeed warranted. Just don't expect fans, players and managers to show faith in the system when viewers at home can make better judgments than the umpires in the Replay Operations Center" (, 4/14).

MANAGERS GROWING FRUSTRATED:'s Buster Olney wrote frustration with the replay system is "beginning to boil over" less than two weeks into the season. What managers "want, above all else, is reliability, some degree of predictability." They "don't want to feel as though there is a roll of the dice when they're issuing a challenge, and that they have no idea what the replay officials are looking at." They want to know "that each challenge will be treated in the same way, with an expected outcome" (, 4/13). Olney said, "In Spring Training, when you talked to managers about this, they said the right things publicly. Privately, you got the eye rolls and the questions about whether the challenge process involving the managers was the right way to go" ("SportsCenter," ESPN, 4/13). Nationals manager Matt Williams: "I'm extremely frustrated by the process at this point" (, 4/13).'s Matt Snyder wrote it is a "good thing October is pretty far away." The replay system is "a net positive ... but mistakes like this shouldn't be made in big spots in big games by the time we get there" (, 4/13). ESPN's Manny Acta said, "We all know that replay has just started and there is going to be some tinkering going forward, but this can't happen. If we're not going to be able to have unlimited amount of replays, which is almost impossible to do, and the managers only have a certain amount, we have to get it right" ("Baseball Tonight," ESPN, 4/13). But in Denver, Nick Groke noted in the "first 14 days of the season, MLB's new replay system led to 21 overturned calls from 64 challenges in 141 games," which is "one caught mistake every 6.7 games." Groke: "If the umpires are that good, did baseball even need replay?" (DENVER POST, 4/13).
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