MLB's New Replay System Successful On Opening Day With Total Of Five Reviewed Calls
MLB yesterday "launched the expanded replay era ... and saw instant results -- a pair of missed calls by umpires got fixed fast, without any arguments," according to Ben Walker of the AP. None of Opening Day's five reviews "took longer than 2½ minutes." The first use of the new system occurred in Pittsburgh, where Cubs manager Rick Renteria "came out to check" after Cubs P Jeff Samardzija was "called out at first base" by umpire Bob Davidson in the fifth inning. Renteria while discussing the play "got a sign from the dugout to contest the play." After a two-minute wait while the umpires "hooked up a headset on the field, umpire Larry Vanover -- working in the central replay booth in New York -- told them the call was correct." Renteria: "We're still trying to figure out what clear and compelling evidence is. It's a work in progress." Walker reports umpire Mike Winters in Oakland "became the first umpire to initiate a review, making the call after a collision at home plate in the sixth inning." Winters wanted to see if A's C John Jaso had "illegally blocked the plate under the new rule regarding home plate collisions" when he tagged Indians LF Michael Brantley, who was sliding (AP, 4/1). Samardzija said of the video review, "The whole thing really went well. It didn't take them very long at all to review the play, and they ended up making the right call" (USA TODAY, 4/1). The first overturned call happened in the Braves-Brewers game when Brewers LF Ryan Braun was "ultimately ruled out instead of safe after a challenge" by Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez that took 58 seconds (ESPN.com, 3/31). MLB Network’s Matt Vasgersian said, "Fans got their money’s worth out of the replay stuff. ... I think it went relatively well. At the end of the day, you judge this by whether they got it right ultimately or not” ("MLB Tonight," MLB Network, 3/31).
SOME ISSUES STILL TO IRON OUT: In N.Y., Benjamin Hoffman notes there was concern prior to Twins-White Sox that "blown fuses could affect the ability to use the replay system, but the problems were resolved in time for the game" (N.Y. TIMES, 4/1). Also in N.Y., Ken Davidoff notes when Nationals manager Matt Williams "used his challenge" in the top of the 10th against the Mets, the Citi Field scoreboard "didn’t note the play was under review, and the game went forward with minimal buzz about what had just transpired." The fans at the ballpark are "supposed to be clued into the process" (N.Y. POST, 4/1).