Friday, June 10, 2016

Unringing the Bell - Replay Reversal New Wrinkle for Cards

A reversed catch/trap call turned into a Reds single, leaving Cardinals Manager Mike Matheny shaking his head as Crew Chief Jerry Meals simply listened to the complaint.

With one out and one on (R1) in the bottom of the 8th inning of a 3-2 ballgame, Reds batter Ivan De Jesus hit a fly ball to shallow right field, where Cardinals right fielder Stephen Piscotty dove in an attempt to catch the ball, ruled an out and catch by 1B Umpire Sean Barber as Reds baserunner R1 Tyler Holt retreated back to first base to tag up.

Meals and Barber await New York's decision.
Upon Replay Review as the result of a request by Reds Manager Bryan Price and Crew Chief Review by Jerry Meals, Barber's ruling was overturned: F9 Piscotty was ruled to have trapped the ball on a bounce; De Jesus was credited with a single and awarded first base, and R1 Holt was placed at second base.

What is so unusual about this play, of course, is that F9 Piscotty quickly gathered himself and threw the ball into second base, meaning that had R1 Holt continued his run, there is a chance he would have been forced out, just as there is a chance he would have beaten the play. That judgment (the Replay Official's placement of Holt at second base) is what Mike Matheny called into question.

Matheny argues runner placement with Meals.
As Cardinals Manager Matheny discussed Holt's placement with Meals, we were reminded of the "You can't unring the bell" response that first accompanied expanded video instant replay back in 2014. Even as far back as Tim Welke's ejection of Joe Girardi in 2012, the "you can't unring the bell" argument surfaced.

Succinctly, Welke appeared to have possibly signaled "Time" using the standard arms-up mechanic during a fair/foul ball situation. After Welke subsequently lowered his right arm to point "Fair," Yanks skipper Girardi was ejected arguing that Welke had already called the play dead, only to "unring the bell."

"I thought was pointing that the ball was dead."
- Dodgers broadcaster Vin Scully.
Even earlier in 2012 (far before expanded replay), tmac foresaw such a problem, writing for the Majority in the UEFL Appeals Board's decision on Dale Scott's misleading mechanics/triple play call at Dodger Stadium, resulting in Bud Black's ejection: "In any case it's my belief that from a mechanical standpoint you can not kill a play like that and change your mind. It's as bad as calling a guy out on a catch in the outfield getting guys to go back to their bases and switching to a no catch call."

When Tim Timmons ejected Chip Hale last season during a pending Replay Review call, a new discussion began, conjecturing that umpires may very well err on the side of "not ringing the bell," knowing that replay can simply correct the call after the fact.

However, as the Welke and Scott plays illustrates, there are several instances in which the bell may be rung in baseball that Replay Review may not be able to satisfactorily fix ex post facto, such as the umpire's call of "Time" or dead ball, and the improper catch/out call in the outfield, such as the present play.

The only difference, of course, is that Replay Review opened up that Pandora's Box such that umpires on the field cannot simply rely on common sense to distribute fairness: Replay will simply call what the video evidence demonstrates, without regard to runners or fielders being put in jeopardy.
Alternate Link: Confusion reigns supreme for Matheny, who thinks Holt was out (STL)


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