The explanations by umpires of a disputed play at second base in the ninth inning Monday night, along with the video replay ruling that followed, did not satisfy Atlanta Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez.
The disputed call did not lead to a run in the ninth with the score tied 3-all — otherwise Gonzalez still might be fuming on the field. He was thrown out for arguing after replay overlords overturned a call on the field, saying that Braves infielder Andrelton Simmons came off the second-base bag too quickly on a throw by Chris Johnson following a sacrifice bunt attempt by Juan Lagares of the Mets. New York's Eric Campbell was called out at second, but Simmons' relay to first wasn't in time.
The Braves had gotten one out, but not for long. The so-called "neighborhood play" isn't supposed to be reviewable by rule, but Mets manager Terry Collins got umps to review the play anyway, and they overturned the call. It's hard to know for sure if umpires got the call right because their respective explanations clash with each other and, possibly, the facts.
"We reviewed the call because, in our judgment, we felt the throw took the fielder off the bag,'' crew chief Mike Everitt told a pool reporter. ''That was going to be reviewable.''
MLB published a statement implying the umps did the right thing for that reason. But then umpire Tim Timmons said something that didn't match up:
Ump Tim Timmons: "He’s trying to complete the double play quicker. He’s trying to gain an advantage."— David O'Brien (@ajcbraves) July 8, 2014
That sounds like part of the essence of the neighborhood play — which, again, should not be reviewable. So, did Johnson's throw take Simmons off the bag, or was Simmons "cheating" to avoid contact and to help himself turn a double play quicker? Video shows that Johnson's throw was on the money. Simmons, what say ye?
“I ain’t got nothing good to say about it, so I’d rather not say anything.”
Ugh. It's definitely not a beautiful day in the neighborhood of video replay justice. Bugs continue to dominate the expanded system — though most of them seem related to the humans running the show than the technology. Those are the same-old humans.
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