With the first full season of expanded video review nearing its end, only this much is certain: Replay can't make everybody happy. San Diego Padres manager Bud Black certainly wasn't happy with the result of a key play at home plate against the St. Louis Cardinals on Thursday night. On the verge of tying the score in the top of the ninth, Alexi Amarista was called out by umpire Bob Davidson after a pinch-hit single to right by Jake Goebbert and a throw home by outfielder Shane Robinson.
Davidson's call was slow and not definitive — he appeared to be confused — and it was not at all certain that Cards catcher A.J. Pierzynski tagged Amarista. The players themselves didn't seem to know for sure, either. Pierzynski went to tag Amarista a second time when Amarista made a second lunge for the plate. Was that just due diligence on Pierzynski's part, as Cards manager Mike Matheny rationalized, or had he really missed Amarista the first time?
What does this photo tell you?
Amarista looks tagged. But the angle we really need is the reverse.
But that's what replay is for — to sort it all out. After a review lasting 4 minutes and 9 seconds, Davidson relayed the news: Amarista was still out. Black couldn't believe it.
''You saw two major league players react to a play that indicated that a tag was missed,'' Black said. ''You saw their catcher go back and try to tag our runner because he knew he missed him. You saw our player react knowing that he wasn't tagged. So you saw two experienced major league players react to a play that they both knew wasn't a tag."
Here's a longer version of the play:
The Cardinals hung on to win 4-3. Since the umpires didn't go on the record with the media after the game, and managers aren't allowed to argue or pick umps' brains on replay calls, we are left to make some guesses:
• Video evidence of a tag probably was not definitive enough for a reversal. Or, officials looked at it and decided that Pierzynski tagged him.
• Pierzynski might have blocked Amarista's path to the plate, but only because the throw led him to do it — so Rule 7.13 wasn't going to help the Padres either.
• Amarista did not appear to be out of the baseline.
Replay is not a panacea. It does not solve all problems. It certainly didn't overcome a wishy washy call by Bob Davidson.
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