Sunday, April 8, 2012

Instant Replay's 2012 MLB Debut

MLB Instant replay made its 2012 debut in Tampa Bay and Detroit on Saturday as two boundary calls with home run potential were overturned.

Umpire Joe West explains his ruling to Rays manager
Joe Maddon as crew-mates Rob Drake (L), Sam Holbrook
(facing camera) & Andy Fletcher look on.
At Tropicana Field, Rays third baseman Evan Longoria hit a Clay Rapada pitch to right field for an apparent home run as a fan wearing a Yankees jersey—along with a Rays hat and undershirt—leaned over to catch the descending fly ball as it approached the definitive yellow line atop the spectators' railing as Yankees right fielder Nick Swisher did his best Tony Tarasco impression, pointing up at the offending fan and pleading his case for Jeffrey Maier-style spectator interference.

Initially ruled a home run by RF Umpire Rich Garcia 1B Umpire Andy Fletcher, crew chief Joe West elected to overturn the call on the field after consulting instant replay: replay angles conclusively demonstrated the fan made contact with the ball as it was below the boundary and within the field of play: West's decision was correct.

The Rays eventually won the contest, 8-6, while Longoria nonetheless scored later that inning. The first official use of instant replay occurred in Tampa Bay on Sept. 3, 2008, when Yankees slugger Alex Rodriguez's home run off reliever Troy Percival was reviewed and confirmed. 16 days later—on Sept. 19, 2008—the Rays played host to the first overturned call as a result of instant replay when an on-field decision of fan interference was overturned to a home run.

Video 1: Evan Longoria's reviewed home run (overturned to spectator interference, a double)

Meanwhile in Detroit, Tigers third baseman Miguel Cabrera stepped to the plate with two out and none on in the bottom of the fifth, connecting on an 87-mph offering from Red Sox starter Josh Beckett and driving the ball deep to left-center field.

Before instant replay was invoked by crew chief Dale Scott, 2B Umpire CB Bucknor had ruled the play a rules book double under the auspices of OBR Rule 6.09(f):
Any fair ball which, either before or after touching the ground, passes through or under a fence, or through or under a scoreboard, or through any opening in the fence or scoreboard, or through or under shrubbery, or vines on the fence, or which sticks in a fence or scoreboard, in which case the batter and the runners shall be entitled to two bases.
Replays indicate the ball never passed through or under a fence; it cleared the wall on the fly and Scott properly overturned the call to that of a home run.

Cabrera's awarded HR was one of five home runs hit by the Tigers on Saturday (Prince Fielder, 2; Cabrera, 2; Alex Avila, 1), the most home runs ever surrendered by Beckett in his first start of any MLB season: the Boston hurler last allowed five runs on Aug. 23, 2009. The Tigers eventually won the contest, 10-0.

Video 2: Miguel Cabrera's reviewed double (overturned to a home run)


Anonymous said...

Instant replay review - that's what it's there for. Good job by Joe and Dale to get those calls right. Richie must really be loathing there was no replay back during the Orioles-Yankees ALCS. I remember Bob Costas going "and what happens now" while Jon Miller was completely losing his mind about how terrible the call was.

zcr57 said...

Good calls in both cases. There's no way the covering umpires could have gotten those calls right with the naked eye.

Anonymous said...

Cabrera's shot was one of the most bizarre homers I've ever seen. I mean, how often will the ball clear the fence and then come back under it?

Jim said...

CB Bucknor running all the way out to the warning track to call it a double...

Anonymous said...

Looks like CB & crew had another boundary call, this time a Detroit walk-off home run that a fan caught in front of the railing. However, Comerica Park is set up in such a way that the yellow line is actually located on the fenceline at the base of the railing so that even if the fan reaches over, it's a home run anyway. Umpires conferred and decided not to review.

Anonymous said...

My quick look at the longoria shot looks like a legit home run. Why did West take it away? The ball was going to land in the seats, not the wall.

Anonymous said...

CB ruled the ball a double when the ball was on THE OTHER SIDE IF THE FENCE. Can someone please explain to me, why you wouldn't call it a homerun????? You run all the way out there and you see it on the other it a homerun. Why a double????

Anonymous said...

@anonymous12:29 Gap under fence?

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