The good news with instant replay is that many missed calls will be overturned in less than one minute.
The bad news with instant replay is that it will never be perfect, regardless of how well the set up might be.
We were reminded of the latter yet again on Saturday during the Yankees 7-4 victory over the Boston Red Sox.
With the Yankees batting in the home half of the eighth inning, rookie Dean Anna laced a ball into the right field corner and raced into second base with a sliding double. Despite Anna clearly reaching the bag safely, Red Sox shortstop Xander Bogaerts decided to place a tag on Anna anyway and held it on him until he got to his feet.
In the process of standing up, Anna's foot clearly came off the base, but second base umpire Ron Kulpa ruled him safe. This brought out Boston manager John Farrell for a challenge, but despite the apparent overwhelming evidence suggesting otherwise, the safe call was "confirmed" on the review.
Replay stinks. He was out.
— Kevin Kernan (@WheresKernan) April 12, 2014
So much for reviews. He was called safe. Replay seemed to show he was clearly out.
— Pete Abraham (@PeteAbe) April 12, 2014
Dean Anna was safe and then he was out and then he was safe again. Baseball!
— Pinstripe Alley (@pinstripealley) April 12, 2014
This is exactly the type of play Tampa Bay Rays manager Joe Maddon was preparing his team for in spring training. Never assume anything. Finish every play and put the pressure on the other team and the umpires to make smart decisions. Only in this case, the umpires and the system failed to get it right.
That begs the next question: How did everyone but the replay officials see what happened?
Their explanation may scare you.
MLB did not have immediate access to conclusive angle on Anna play at second. Acknowledges that call should have been made differently.
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) April 12, 2014
The viewers at home could see it clearly on at least three angles, but the officials apparently didn't have those angles at their disposal? How does that happen? And should we expect similar problems to pop up at random times throughout the season?
Those are questions MLB should probably answer before too many more questions start piling up, because it wouldn't be good for business to have a technical error influence the outcome of a game. The system can work and it has worked very well so far, but avoidable issues like this need to be avoided all together or they at least need to have a backup plan in place so someone, somewhere can see the play and make a proper ruling.
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