Friday, March 7, 2014

Angels, Dodgers replay; Trout, Puig and a long delay

Two batters into Thursday’s spring training game between the Los Angeles Angels and the Los Angeles Dodgers there was an incredible play involving two of the best young players in the game which required the use of the new video replay system to determine who came out on top.

Mike Trout ripped a line drive into center field where Yasiel Puig, always trying to be part of a highlight reel, dove for the ball instead of playing it in front of him. He missed and the ball went all the way to the wall.

Trout smelled blood and ran as hard as he could for home. To his credit, Puig jumped up and raced to the ball at the wall. He threw to the relay man, Hanley Ramirez, who rifled home to Dodgers’ catcher A.J. Ellis. Ellis was up the line and applied the tag to Trout before he touched home plate. Trout and the rest of the Angels didn’t think so and out trotted Angels’ manager Mike Scioscia.

Here is the play.


It seems as though the managers and the umpires need some work on how this replay stuff should transpire. There was entirely too much yapping going on between Scioscia and the umpiring crew. It took close to one and a half minutes before they decided to actually check the replay.

If the play is reviewable, then the manager should be coming out and challenging the play, not trying to convince the umpires to judge it without the replay. The whole point to this process, besides getting the call correct of course, is to cut out some of the time wasted with managers and umpires arguing the plays. It took just over a minute for the crew chief to get the ruling from the review booth, which is very reasonable in my opinion.

There was some discussion between Scioscia and umpiring crew chief Gerry Davis about the rule that was being reviewed (the tag itself or whether the catcher was blocking the plate). This is also understandable, but hardly should have taken the time it did.

"That was an umpire challenge because he questioned [Rule] 7.13, which is blocking the plate," said Davis via MLB.com. "The first thing we look at when there's an umpire challenge is whether he's blocking the plate or not, or if the runner deviates from his path trying to score. But once we go for that reason, we can review the whole play."

Since he was incorrect, Scioscia no longer could challenge a reviewable play. After the sixth inning is completed, plays can be reviewed if the umpiring crew deems necessary. If Scioscia had been correct he would have been able to challenge one more reviewable call should one have transpired through the sixth inning. Managers are allowed a maximum of two challenges per game.

I understand this is all new to everyone involved, but MLB is going to have to really shutdown the talking before the review. The umpires are going to have to be tough on the managers and simply ask what rule they are challenging as soon as the manager steps foot on the field to argue a play. Otherwise, the length of time involved is going to become too cumbersome for fans to endure.

Using the NFL as an example, if the head coach wants the referees to review a play they throw a red flag on the field. The referee confers with the coach as to what he is challenging and then it goes up to the booth for review. This typically takes 10-15 seconds. There is not a lot of back and forth that we saw after this play.

Hopefully, the league will do its part and speak with both Scioscia and the umpiring crew about how this particular play was handled and then also send it off to the other clubs for them to review. This is the only way to strike a balance between getting the call right on the field and adding time to an already long game.

Christopher Carelli is a freelance sports writer/editor and the Director of Content Strategy for Sportsideo. Connect with Chris on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.

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