Wednesday, October 13, 2021

Brewers-Braves NLDS & Replay's Infield Fly Limitation

In Game 4 of the #Brewers-#Braves National League Division Series, umpires conducted a rules check on Adam Duvall's foul fly ball to Milwaukee third baseman Luis Urias behind home plate, deflected by catcher Omar Narvaez. The only problem? The play was unreviewable thanks to MLB's long-standing replay rules.

Ever since baseball first released its Replay Review Regulations in 2014, the question of what is and isn't reviewable has been a point of contention. While certain plays—pitchers intentionally throwing at batters or certain interference/obstruction calls—wisely are excluded from replay eligibility, there are others that are a little more curious. One of those? Fly balls in the infield.

Accordingly, as soon as Duvall's foul fly resulted in a diving catch by the glove of Urias, we knew that HP Umpire Tony Randazzo's out call would be unreviewable. And although the play occurred in the general vicinity of the screen behind home plate, we also knew it was nowhere near close enough to trigger a stadium boundary review.

Based on Crew Chief Alfonso Marquez's mechanics (which was to give no signal after removing the headsets to NY), it is quite apparent this play was not formally reviewed: the rules check simply established that Braves manager Brian Snitker's attempt to challenge the catch/no catch call was not a reviewable element of the play, even if the pop fly itself was high enough in the air that it was not one of those catch/no catch bullets hit down the first or third base line that Bud Selig made reference to in 2012. As the game evolves so too must replay.

Which returns us to our 2017 instant replay argument: let's make more things reviewable.

Video as follows:

Alternate Link: Unreviewable foul infield catch call burns Braves as Brewers get an out (TBS)


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