10 Huge MLB Controversies That Never Would Have Happened with New Replay System
Finally, MLB has wised up and added expanded replay.
According to the Associated Press (h/t ESPN), MLB will expand its replay beginning in 2014 playoffs.
Managers will be allowed one challenge over the first six innings of a game and two from the seventh inning until the completion of the game. Calls that are challenged will be reviewed by a crew in MLB headquarters in New York City, which will make a final ruling.
Challenges not used in the first six innings will not carry over, and a manager who wins a challenge will retain it.
For millions of baseball fans, this comes as great news. Most only wish this would have been in place when their team got screwed out of a bad call.
Which brings me to this thought—what controversies would never have happened if the new replay system was put into place?
"Infield-Fly" Rule Goes Against Braves
This play lives in infamy with fans of the Atlanta Braves.
During the National League Wild Card play-in game (against the St. Louis Cardinals) on Oct. 5, 2012, Andrelton Simmons hit a pop-up into shallow left field. What should have been a routine out instead dropped to the ground to load the bases with one out.
However, the joy of the fans was quickly switched to anger as umpire Sam Holbrook called it an infield fly.
Atlanta fans responded by throwing anything and everything they could on the field.
The Cardinals ended up winning the game, and Chipper Jones' illustrious career came to a close in horrible fashion.
Had instant replay been available for this, there's no doubt MLB would have ruled it was just a missed pop-up and not an infield fly as ruled.
Of course, Cardinals fans would disagree with this.
Armando Galarraga's 28-out Perfect Game
Armando Galarraga had a perfect day on June 2, 2010.
The Detroit Tigers pitcher had gotten 26 straight outs and got Cleveland's Jason Donald to hit a grounder to Miguel Cabrera for what would have been out No. 27.
However, the first-base umpire ruled Donald beat Galarraga to the bag and Donald was safe, much to the surprise of everyone.
Replay could have easily fixed this call and given him baseball's 21st perfect game. However, it was a judgement call that stood.
Trevor Crowe grounded out next, giving Galarraga what many call a 28-out perfect game.
Thankfully, the umpire admitted afterwards that he was wrong and that he cost Galarraga a chance at history.
Fan Interferes to Give Yankees Edge
On Oct. 9, 1996, Jeffrey Maier became a hero in New York.
During Game 1 of the 1996 ALCS between the New York Yankees and Baltimore Orioles, Derek Jeter hit a deep fly ball to right field. As Tony Tarasco got under the ball, he reached up, only to watch Maier grab the ball from the field of play.
Replay clearly shows Maier interfered with the ball.
Had he not interfered, the Orioles would have held onto the lead and likely won Game 1. While the Yankees did eventually win the series 4-1, there's no telling what the Orioles would have been able to do with a 2-0 lead in the series.
Regardless, replay would have confirmed the interference, and the Yankees wouldn't have been given the unfair advantage.
Of course, like Cardinals fans in the earlier slide, Yankees fans will dispute this claim.
Joe Mauer's Foul Ball Actually Was Fair
The Yankees benefited from yet another call, this time in the 2009 ALDS.
In the 11th inning, Minnesota Twins catcher Joe Mauer hit an opposite-field shot down the left field line. The umpire originally called the ball foul, and Mauer later singled.
The only problem is, replay clearly showed the ball was fair before it bounced into the stands. Mauer should have been awarded a ground-rule double, but wasn't.
Even though he singled, the Twins had two more singles in the inning, but Mauer was stranded on third. Had he been given the double by instant replay, Mauer would have scored and the Twins might not have lost the game.
The Yankees did score a run in the bottom of the 11th, so while there's no guarantee Minnesota would have won, it would have made things more interesting.
Maybe the Yankees wouldn't have won the game. Maybe they wouldn't have won the series. Maybe they wouldn't have won the World Series.
Kent Hrbek Pulls Ron Gant off the Bag
Growing up a young Braves fan, this one hurt the most.
In Game 2 of the 1991 World Series, the Braves had something cooking against the Twins after a Ron Gant single to put runners on first and third.
However, Kent Hrbeck clearly pulled Gant off the bag for the third out, ending the Braves' rally.
The Braves ended up losing the game by one run.
Now, there's no telling what would have happened with the next batter up, but this call would have been clearly reversed if instant replay were involved.
Maybe the Braves would have won more than one World Series in 20 years, too.
Missed Call Sends Rockies to Postseason
After being tied in wins and losses after 162 games, the two teams played a tie-breaker for the right to go to the playoffs.
After an incredible game that went 13 innings, Colorado's Jamey Carroll hit a fly ball with Matt Holliday on third base. The ball was caught and thrown in to San Diego catcher Michael Barrett, but Barrett missed the ball as Holliday slid into home.
However, upon further review, it is seen that Holliday missed the plate and Barrett applied the tag, seeing that.
Still, umpire Tim McClelland ruled Holliday safe and the Rockies went on to the World Series.
Braves Get Lucky with Call at Home
This was one of the most surprising calls I've ever witnessed.
Embattled in a 19-inning game, the Braves and Pittsburgh Pirates kept at it on July 27, 2011. With runners on first and third with one out, Scott Proctor hit a grounder to third base, which was thrown home. Catcher Michael McKenry caught the ball and blocked Atlanta's Julio Lugo from scoring.
However, umpire Jerry Meals called Lugo safe and the game was over.
Again, replay would have shown the call was wrong and Lugo would have been called out.
I guess it was only fitting that the Braves had a September collapse and missed out on the playoffs by one game.
A's Robbed of Game-Tying Home Run
Down 4-3 in the bottom of the ninth, Oakland's Adam Rosales hit a fly ball to center that hit off the yellow on the outfield wall.
However, it was ruled as a double.
While the umpires did review it, people in the MLB office reviewing the play would have clearly made the correct call on a review.
I'm not sure what the umpires saw, but replays clearly show the ball should have been ruled a home run.
Hopefully, that one game isn't the difference in the A's being in the playoffs or not.
Barmes Turns Double Play Without Making Catch
This one might not have mattered in the grand scheme of things. It was between the Cardinals and Rockies on Sept. 27, 2009.
In the bottom of the ninth, Ryan Ludwick hit a blooper to right field, only to watch Clint Barmes make a diving catch at the ball. He then threw to first base to double up Albert Pujols and end the game.
However, replay showed Barmes never made the catch, although first-base umpire Sam Holbrook ruled he did.
It's another case where instant replay would have made a difference.
No worries, though, as both teams still made the playoffs.
Orta Called Safe
During Game 6 of the 1985 World Series, umpire Don Denkinger made perhaps a series-blowing call.
The Kansas City Royals were trailing the Cardinals in the bottom of the ninth. Jorge Orta hit a grounder to first, but Denkinger called Orta safe.
The Royals went on to score two runs in the inning and win Game 6. They then won Game 7.
Had there been replay, Orta would have been called out and the Cardinals would have won the World Series instead of the Royals.