Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Old School - West Crew Reverses Call Without Replay

In a throw-back to days before instant replay, Joe West helped Hunter Wendelstedt reverse the latter's "safe" call on the bases without going to New York.

Wendelstedt, alongside West, reverses his call.
The sequence began in the top of the 2nd inning of Monday's Angels-Rays game, when Angels baserunner R1 Nolan Fontana attempted to steal second base off of Rays pitcher Jake Odorizzi, initially ruled safe by 2B Umpire Hunter Wendelstedt.

Rays Manager Kevin Cash elected to challenge the play, claiming that second baseman Michael Martinez applied a tag to Fontana prior to his arrival at the base.

As Wendelstedt and Crew Chief West began walking toward the replay coordinator's station, the two discussed the play. According to West's post-game comments to a pool reporter, "After consulting with me, [Wendelstedt] said, 'I want to change it myself. I think I erred.' I said, 'OK, it’s your call.' So he changed it." The pair then explained their ruling to chagrined Angels skipper Mike Scioscia.

Wendelstedt accepted responsibility for the initial call and described how the change came about:
I committed one of the two errors that normally result in missing a play. You have good positioning, which I had, and good timing. Most of the time you’re going to get them, most of the time, right. I had really bad timing. As soon as my hands were out, I knew that I missed it.
In its General Instructions to Umpires, the Official Baseball Rules state, "But remember! The first requisite is to get decisions correctly. If in doubt don’t hesitate to consult your associate. Umpire dignity is important but never as important as 'being right.'"

Umpires are also instructed to, "wait until the play is completed before making any arm motion...[Umpiring] is often a trying position which requires the exercise of much patience and good judgment."

In seasons past, we have seen umpires call a runner out too quickly, only to subsequently see that the fielder has dropped or failed to catch the ball, and reverse the call to that of "safe." Rarely has a "safe" call been reversed to an "out," as it was here, and even more rare is the umpire's call reversed by the calling umpire before going to replay.

But, as West and Wendelstedt came to the conclusion, it is the mechanically proper thing to do.

Video via "read more"

Alternate Link: Wendelstedt opts to reverse his initial call after speaking with Crew Chief West (TB)


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