We're just two weeks into the 2014 MLB season, and there are already problems with the new instant-replay system.
In the eighth inning of Saturday afternoon's contest between the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees, shortstop Dean Anna ripped a pitch by Burke Badenhop down the right-field line and appeared on first glance to beat Daniel Nava's throw into second base.
Here's a look at the play:
Red Sox manager John Farrell came out to argue the safe call, and upon replay, it looked as though it'd be overturned. Although Anna got to the bag first, he lifted his right foot slightly off second as Xander Bogaerts held the tag.
The umpires confirmed the call, but as Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal later reported, MLB would admit it was the wrong decision:
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
So, those viewing at home have about 45 different high-definition angles to look at over and over again, but the guys whose decision actually matters don't have "immediate access" to every available angle?
As Farrell put it after the game, via NESN's Tom Caron, that is head-scratching, to say the least:
Farrell on losing challenge: "We had probably 5 angles that confirmed he was off the base....makes you scratch your head a little bit."— Tom Caron (@TomCaron) April 12, 2014
Caron put it simply:
Bottom line: if you're going to delay game w/ replay challenges, you HAVE to get it right. No excuse not to see the angles we all see @MLB— Tom Caron (@TomCaron) April 12, 2014
Fortunately, the botched call had no effect on the outcome of the game. No runs came across the plate after Anna's double, and the Yanks went on to win the game, 7-4.
How do you feel about the instant replay in baseball?
However, if the system is already having problems in early April, you have to wonder if it might rear its ugly head sometime again in a more important game.
The good news here is there is time to iron out the kinks. Hopefully, before a team loses because of a botched replay call, MLB will make sure umpires have all available camera angles—or, you know, at least let them turn on the broadcast—to make an informed decision.
Replays are supposed to help the game, not make it more controversial.