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Thursday (Twins expose potential replay problems in 2014) edition: Wha' Happened?

Posted by: Michael Rand under Professional baseball, Target Field Updated: September 12, 2013 - 9:42 AM


Initial systems are rarely perfect. We find out over time that best intentions were impractical or that unforseen scenarios are gumming up the works.


We expect to see a lot of this in 2014, when MLB implements a broad instant replay system, trumping a system that currently is limited to home run calls.

We didn't, however, expect to see the problems arising already in 2013. But if you slogged through that ugly, marathon Twins game last night, you saw exactly that.

As Phil Miller writes:

Minnesota already trailed 8-1 when Gardenhire was ejected for an unusual play that began as a foul ball. The A’s complained that the bases-loaded line drive off Jed Lowrie’s bat, which forced Miller to leap into the air to avoid being hit, had actually clipped the foul line as it landed behind him. The umpires conferred, and awarded Lowrie a double, sending two runners across the plate.

Gardenhire grew more irritated as he argued, and finally earned the 67th ejection of his career and fifth this season.

The best part was that as soon as the call was reversed, we knew Gardy would get ejected. There wasn't even a question.

The worst part is that this is exactly the type of call that will be reviewable next year, and it will send us into a world of the imagined.

A ball initially called fair that is overturned as foul is easy to fix. Everyone goes back to their bases and it's a strike. But a ball called foul that is overturned to be fair is a conundrum. Everything stops after the ump's arms go up. Everything beyond that is an assumption, just as the one that was made last night in awarding Lowrie a double.

Is it better, in the grand scheme, to get the basics right -- that the ball was fair (as it was, though barely, last night, which appeared to be determined by examining the chalk line) -- and reward the team that would otherwise be penalized by an incorrect call? We suppose, yes. But we also have a major problem with a system that is going to get most of a call right and leave the rest up to educated guesswork.

Lowrie probably would have had a double. Two runners probably would have scored, with the other stopping at third. But this says nothing of slow runners, fast runners, poor fielders, weird hops, oddly shaped ballparks or good/bad throws to bases. All of these things come into play after the ball lands fair or foul.

In a game of inches, we might never get comfortable with a game of "probably" that begins in earnest next year.


Washington 0
Pittsburgh 7 FINAL
Detroit 3
Miami 3 FINAL
St. Louis 2
Boston - WP: K. Couch 11 FINAL
Tampa Bay - LP: C. Reavis 8
NY Yankees - LP: M. Tanaka 1 FINAL
Minnesota - WP: T. Milone 3
Tampa Bay 4 FINAL
Baltimore 3
Philadelphia 6 FINAL
Toronto 10
Chicago Cubs 15 FINAL
Texas 10
Cincinnati - WP: M. Lorenzen 10 FINAL
Milwaukee - LP: M. Fiers 4
Colorado 3 FINAL
San Francisco 4
Chicago WSox 2 FINAL
Los Angeles 1
Seattle 6 FINAL
Cleveland 8
Oakland - WP: J. Fuller 13 FINAL
LA Angels - LP: B. Loconsole 10
Texas 7 FINAL
Arizona 8
Houston 8 FINAL
Atlanta 5
Kansas City 4 FINAL
San Diego 1
Atlanta 95 FINAL
Detroit 105
Indiana 106 FINAL
Brooklyn 111
San Antonio 95 FINAL
Miami 81
Golden State 110 FINAL
LA Clippers 106
New Jersey 2 FINAL(OT)
Columbus 3
Carolina 2 FINAL
Washington 4
Florida 2 FINAL
Boston 3
Ottawa 2 FINAL(SO)
Detroit 1
Tampa Bay 1 FINAL
Toronto 3
NY Rangers 3 FINAL
Winnipeg 2
Vancouver 5 FINAL(SO)
Nashville 4
UT Martin 66 FINAL
Evansville 79
Miami-Florida 60 FINAL
Temple 57
Northern Ariz 68
Stanford 67 FINAL
Old Dominion 60


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