Red Sox Robbed, Another Example Of MLB’s Need For Replay

 

Human beings make mistakes, and officials will make incorrect calls. It’s a problem in every major sport, of course different leagues deal with it in different ways. Major League Baseball has been particularly (and predictably) resistant to the idea of introducing replay to the game, and so far there is little indication that the league office will introduce a more comprehensive “visual aid” for it’s umpires in the immediate future. Yet every night, calls are being missed, and games are altered as a result. Daniel Nava being “thrown out” at home plate was the climax of the Red Sox and Rays battle for first place in the A.L. East on Monday night. It was a climatic moment, a close play, and an obviously incorrect ruling that left thousands of fans in shocked disbelief. (video below)

With the Red Sox struggling to slow a Tampa team that had won 16 of their last 18 games before coming to Boston, Ryan Lavarnway managed to start a rally after Rays’ ace David Price exited in the 8th inning. Lavarnway rocketed a fastball from Joel Peralta off the Monster, and Daniel Nava came off the bench to pinch run in a 2-1 game.

As the tying run, Nava should have made an effort to score off Stephen Drew’s deep double in the next at bat. In fact, Drew would’ve slid into third base with a triple if Nava hadn’t applied the brakes at the last minute, but that’s neither here nor there, because what happened next was a textbook example of why Baseball needs to utilize replay.

Brandon Snyder hit a ball to Left Field that looked deep enough to score Nava as a sacrifice fly. Nava, who isn’t exactly Ricky Henderson, made a break for Home Plate as Sam Fuld fired the ball in from the outfield. It appeared that the Red Sox would tie the game at 2, that this contest would turn into a classic battle in extra innings. It appeared that Nava appropriately slid low and away from Jose Molina’s tag, but Home Plate Umpire Jerry Meals decided that he was out.

Perhaps from his angle it was the right call. Perhaps the play happened so quickly that one set of eyes couldn’t possibly decipher whether the cleat got in before the glove tagged the leg. Yet the 20,000 fans who stayed at Fenway through a rain delay, and desperately wanted to witness their team win a critical game at the end of July certainly saw it another way, and Meals admitted after the game that their reaction was justified.

After the game, Meals addressed a crowd of reporters: “What I saw was: Molina blocked the plate and Nava’s foot lifted. But in the replays, you could clearly see Nava’s foot got under for a split second and then lifted, so I was wrong on my decision. From the angle I had, I did not see his foot get under Molina’s shin guard.”

An easy answer, and an easy fix, if only there was some way the Umpiring crew could review the play in slow-motion. All it would take is an optional challenge flag (similar to the NFL), or a mandatory second look at critical plays in the final two innings (like the NBA’s quick review in the last two minutes) to allow the officials a chance at honorable admonition. The solution is there, yet the MLB refuses to implement it because it may hurt TV ratings or affect the game’s archaic set of traditions. However this is the modern age, where everyone has everything on film and the evidence looms ominously on the scoreboard after an incorrect call. If it takes an extra few minutes for a human to admit that they made a very human mistake, what’s the harm in that?

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About nweitzer7

Nate Weitzer is a die hard Celtics and Red Sox fan although he has little love for the New England Patriots. Currently a graduate student at Boston University looking to earn a Masters in Sports Journalism, Weitzer blogs weekly for Baseball Revival (See link below), covers high school sports for local start-up paper Boston Urban News, and writes on the Celtics for http://thenosebleeds.com/category/sports/celtics/

Posted on August 2, 2013, in 2013, Red Sox and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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