Earl Weaver would be bored silly these days. Sneaking smokes in the Baltimore Orioles dugout looking for trouble. There’s been a total of 5 managerial ejections this year.
Bo Porter, Bruce Bochy, Ron Washington, Rick Renteria and the diplomatically stuffed John Farrel are the five and only Farrel was pissed over instant replay. Seems fitting that the mild-mannered Red Sox manager chooses 2014 to draw attention to his team.
Farrel typically says what everyone wants to hear, but he blew a gasket on April 13th when his World Series championship Sox were suffering a 5-7 record. He had to blame someone so off with instant replays head. He was upset about a close play overturned; insisting there was “inconclusive evidence.” Major league baseball fined Farrel. So much for free speech.
But Farrel is all alone. The consensus among managers is yes, this year’s instant replay innovation will need some tweaking, but as the final judge, it’s here to stay. Lion lays down with lamb.
Ok, so there’s a close play at first base and the manager walks slowly out to greet the umpire. For over 100 years, the conversation often escalated into finger-pointing, kicking dirt, or in a worst case scenario spitting or the ol’ Pete Rose bump, ejections, suspensions.
Thanks to Earl Weaver, Bobby Cox, Lou Pinella and all members of the heave-ho gang, the human eye is no longer trusted. Bring on the robots. Peace be upon us.
The manager still walks out to greet the umpire, but now he stands there; hands at his side like a kid lost in a crowd. He’s waiting for a thumbs up or a thumbs down from his sidekick coach in the dugout who is waiting word from the eye in the ski video viewing coaches up in the press box or in the clubhouse or wherever they happen to be watching the game on TV, just like you and I.
A thumbs up means “yes, use up our challenge.” a thumbs down means” the umpire was right.”
If a play is challenged (each team gets one) and then overturned, the manager is awarded a second and final challenge that can then be used any time during the remainder of the game. If neither team has a challenge remaining after the seventh inning, the umpires can stop play and verify a call on their own.
The umpires gather in a coffee clutch beside one of the team’s dugout and put on astronaut head sets. They radio to New York where officials watch the replay in a brand new multi million dollar New York facility. I don’t know why it needs to be so chic and costly. It’s the same damn replay we watch on 300 dollar tv’s in our under pants.
The players, manager, and fans wait for the final verdict and 3-10 minutes later, the crew chief umpire indicates out or safe. I find it comical that the same people whining about games taking too long also encouraged instant replay. Well, now they have a little more of both.
I miss the cheap thrills of Lou Pinella digging out bases and throwing em’ all over the diamond. I miss Earl Weaver pointing his finger in an umpire’s face. The WWF drama added to baseball entertainment value; spiked up our serotonin levels, but I’m all on board with instant replay.
The number of excuses used to rationalize problems has drastically declined. Video reveals that umpires are right most of the time and even when they aren’t it doesn’t matter. No one boos because the runner is still standing on first base; assuming he was safe. The probabilities shuffle a bit, but the game goes on and Murphy’s Law still reigns.
There was only one instant replay in Saturday night’s Cubs Brewers game. It was the last play of the game and insignificant. But a good old-fashioned replay revealed something far more gruesome.
Minutes before first pitch, Ryan Braun took practice swings while standing on the dugout steps. Who the hell knows why? Jean Segura was walking below when Braun’s backswing smacked him in the eye. Segura was rushed into the clubhouse; plastic surgery stitches, day to day now.
Meanwhile, Segura’s replacement Jeff Bianchi hit a line drive, opposite field single driving in two runs and that was enough. Brewer’s starter Marco Estrada? Yeh, he gave up a late inning home run, but wow…over the last year and a half; he’s the most underrated pitcher on the Brewers and maybe in all of baseball. Final score; Brewers 5, Cubs 3.
The Brewers are 18-6.