Monday, April 30, 2018

Replay Rewind - Curious Review & Concentration, Too

In this edition of Replay Rewind, we revisit a few curious challenge outcomes, including an air out that appears to bounce into a fielder's glove in Toronto, a complex play full of activity, and a video review that never was.

Umpire discretion & Crew Chief reviews.
R-189 (Base Touch; Confirmed): Tuesday in St. Louis, a 10th-inning go-ahead home run from the bat of Mets batter Jay Bruce resulted in a review as Cardinals Manager Mike Matheny asked Brian Gorman to conduct a Crew Chief Review regarding a base touching appeal during Bruce's home run trot. Gorman obliged and Replay HQ confirmed Gorman's call that Bruce touched first base; Matheny had lost his challenge earlier in the game on another upheld call.

As Mets broadcasters bemoaned Matheny's move as "ridiculous" and "absolute nonsense," Ron Darling implored of Gorman, "have some conviction in your call."

Replay Review Regulation II.C.1 states that a manager who is out of challenges may "request but cannot insist that the Crew Chief invoke his right to initiate Replay Review," while instructing the crew chief that the decision to review lies at "his sole discretion."

With all the recent talk of pace of play on such an obvious call, maybe a crew chief or two should take up Darling's suggestion and deny such a request for such a clear decision.

Replay-235 produced an upheld out call.
R-235 (Catch/No Catch; Stands): Sunday in Toronto, 3B Umpire Mike Winters' catch call on a foul fly ball in the bottom of the 6th inning withstood a Blue Jays challenge that Rangers left fielder Ryan Rua did not catch the ball.

Both the Toronto and Texas broadcasts agreed—well before Winters and Tim Timmons put on the headsets—that the ball bounced off the playing surface and into Rue's glove...yet Replay HQ failed to overturn the call.

Those listening to Fox Sports Southwest were then treated to an exercise of mental gymnastics as commentators Dave Raymond and Tom Grieve argued that although the ball plainly was not caught on the fly, perhaps the Replay Official would find that evidence was not conclusive to overturn the call to that of a trap. New York must have been listening.

Scheurwater stays with the play for the out.
R-214 (Pulled Foot; Confirmed): Thursday in Chicago, 1B Umpire Stu Scheurwater's out call at first base in the top of the 6th inning was confirmed following a Brewers challenge.

When categorizing replays on the bases, we generally label a replay as either a tag (of the runner) or force (tag of the base, including plays at first base [even though they are not technically force outs, the act of tagging the base is akin to that of a force out elsewhere]), and several permutations therein, such as a tag - pickoff, versus a tag - stolen base, or tag - into base, tag - swipe, etc., or whether the force-type play involves a pulled foot situation.

This play at first base could have involved nearly all of them: first baseman Anthony Rizzo fields Tommy La Stella's throw by stepping into foul ground while attempting to keep his right foot in contact with first base as batter-runner Chase Anderson lunges for the front of the bag.

For U1 Scheruwater, considerations had to involve: A) Did Rizzo catch the ball before Anderson touched first base? B) Did Rizzo's foot maintain contact with first base before Anderson arrived? C) Did Rizzo's glove, after possessing the ball, tag Anderson before he arrived at first base? That's a lot of moving parts.

After all that, the seemingly nonchalant out call not only stood, but was confirmed.

[Non-Replay] (Appeal Play [Left Early] & Time Play): Speaking of plays with a lot of moving parts, on Friday, we discussed two apparent missed calls on the same play—one benefiting the visiting Yankees and one benefiting the home Angels—that never went to review because of managerial failure (New York's Aaron Boone failed to timely challenge) and strategy (Mike Scioscia opted not to challenge).
An appeal in Anaheim didn't go to review.

The notable feature here is that without the missed call on the live ball appeal at second base (appeal play - leaving early), the potential for a missed call at home plate (time play) never happens. Though mechanically speaking, 2B Umpire Angel Hernandez stood exactly where he needed to stand, drifting into the infield between first and second base, a convergence of events led to him missing this call.

The second base umpire here is responsible for both the runner at second base's tagging up and the batter-runner's touch at first base. Because the batter-runner's touch at first base occurred nearly simultaneously with the outfielder's catch of the fly ball and R2's leaving second base to tag, U2 had a choice to make: Look left and observe R2's tag-up relative to the air out, or look right and spy BR touching first base. U2 chose BR, which is why the appeal on R2 was missed.

In the future, consider: What is more important here—R2's tag up or BR (out on the fly ball)'s base touch?
Related PostMaster Mike - Boone Boots a Replay as Scioscia Plays Coy (4/27/18).

Videos as follows:
Alternate Link: R-189: Matheny requests and receives a Crew Chief review on obvious call (NYM)

Alternate Link: R-235: Rua is ruled to have caught this fly ball that appeared to bounce (TEX)

Alternate Link: R-214: Call at first is confirmed as throw moves fielder to foul ground (CHC)

Alternate Link: A great catch turns into a confusing pair of mistakes that don't go to review (UEFL)


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