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Upon further review, more managers want more replay

The SportsXchange

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- The most memorable moment of this year's postseason wasn't Sergio Romo striking out Triple Crown winner Miguel Cabrera to end the San Francisco Giants' four-game sweep of the Detroit Tigers in the World Series.

Instead, the searing image of the 2012 playoffs was outraged fans heaping trash upon the field at Turner Field in Atlanta during the Braves' loss to the St. Louis Cardinals in the inaugural National League wild-card game.

The Braves appeared to load the bases with one out in the bottom of the eighth inning while trailing 6-3 as Andrelton Simmons' pop fly fell between St. Louis shortstop Pete Kozma and left fielder Matt Holliday in medium left field. However, left field umpire Sam Holbrook ruled Simmons out on the infield fly rule, and Atlanta went on to lose by the same score.

There were other umpiring gaffes in recent postseasons, and they became magnified as the television replay technology has become more advanced.

In Game 2 of the 2009 American League Division Series, a potential double by the Minnesota Twins' Joe Mauer was incorrectly ruled a foul ball. The Twins went on to lose the game 4-3 to the Yankees.

In Game 1 of the 2010 NL Division Series, Giants catcher Buster Posey was clearly caught stealing second base, but he was ruled safe. He wound up scoring the game's only run.

"I guess it's a good thing we don't have instant replay right now," Posey said.

The Yankees were on the wrong end of two incorrect calls in this year's AL Championship Series. In the opener, New York's Robinson Cano was mistakenly called out on a grounder in the Yankees' 6-4 loss to Detroit. In Game 2, the Tigers' Austin Jackson was tagged out after overrunning second base, but he was ruled safe. The inning continued, and the Tigers scored two of their runs in a 3-0 win.

"In this day and age when we have instant replay available to us, it's got to change," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said after the second game, changing his previous stance.

Days earlier, the play in Atlanta brought the issue of expanding instant replay to a head. Many executives, managers and players want Major League Baseball to expand the list of calls that can be reviewed on video beyond home runs calls.

"It's a situation we continue to study and talk about, and we're going to eventually expand the use of replay," Major League Baseball vice president of baseball operations Joe Torre said Monday during the Winter Meetings at the Gaylord Opryland Hotel and Resort.

"We want to get it right, though. We don't want to rush into anything before we're 100 percent sure the technology is in place that can make sure we get all the calls right. I understand that everyone wants this to get done yesterday, but it's not that simple."

It is widely believed the next step in replay reviews will be to judge balls hit down each foul line. Most major league managers are encouraged with that idea, and some would like to see it expanded further.

"I've thought about it a lot, and I think there's definitely room for more replay," Tampa Bay Rays manager Joe Maddon said. "I think the one area that probably should be off limits would be balls and strikes more than anything. I still believe maybe even foul tips could be something that could be concluded, that it could be a ball or strike possibly. Beyond that, my point is, everything else should be open for discussion. Technology the way it is, and as it keeps advancing -- you're looking at the sports that are utilizing it well right now and relatively quickly.

"I think actually our game could handle it even more quickly based on how the game's kind of wide open. It's not in a pack, like in a football play where there's a bunch of guys piling on, and there's this wide-open space."

Commissioner Bud Selig's biggest hang-up with expanding replay is that it would hurt the pace of the game. That is also a concern of managers.

"I'd like to see it expanded but just not take as long to come up with the solution," the Cincinnati Reds' Dusty Baker said. "Come up with a quicker way to solve the problem because right now, it's just home runs (they) verify ... and that takes a long time, five minutes, and guys are standing around. And (MLB) is already complaining about the length of games. So as long as they could do it in a timely fashion, I'm for it."

Perhaps the most surprising part of the push for more replay is that even most of the admittedly old-school managers are for expansion. The New York Mets' Terry Collins is in that camp.

"I was against it at first because I'm a big believer that the human element is part of what makes the game so great," Collins said. "Then when you see calls being missed in big situations in postseason games, it kind of changes your mind. There is a lot of money at stake in the game today. The difference between winning and losing a postseason series can mean hundreds of thousands of dollars for (players). You can't leave the outcome to chance."

Collins also disagrees with the notion that the pace of games would be destroyed by multiple replay reviews.

"I've done my share of arguing with umpires over the years, but think of all the time you would save in a game if a manager threw a red flag on the field when he disagreed with a call the way the head coaches do in the NFL," Collins said. "Somebody up in a (replay) booth can review the call in a matter of seconds with the technology they have now."

Collins, though, was quick to point out that he would never like to see the day come when umpires are replaced by machines. Toronto Blue Jays manager John Gibbons seconded that opinion and said the umps deserve more credit than they receive.

"These guys are really good at what they do, and you see it when they slow (replays) down," Gibbons said. "But we all make mistakes out there. That's one of the beauties of baseball. The human element can get in the way sometime. That's why I don't want to get too carried away with replay. The umpires don't miss a lot."
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