Performance before perfection – that’s what everyone has to keep in mind when it comes to the fledgling MLB replay system. But the flawed structure of rules and regulations is already starting to wear thin on some managers according to a report by ESPN’s Buster Olney.
You have to expect that even using the technology of replay, not every call is going to be perfect (as evidenced in the Red Sox-Yankees game on Saturday) but certainly more of them will be right than in the past. That’s not good enough for Washington Nationals manager Matt Williams.
Williams was upset that a call at first base involving Nate McLouth wasn’t overturned, when some replay angles seemed to show that perhaps the umpires mistakenly called him out. If you defer to the “incontrovertible visual evidence” part of the rule, the play could have gone either way.
Williams disagrees (via the Washington Post):
"“I’m extremely frustrated by the process at this point,” Williams said. “Because if they’re seeing the same feed that we’re seeing, I don’t know how he’s out. I don’t know how Nate is out if they have the same feed that we have, so that’s frustrating because I thought he was safe. We’ve looked at it 100 times since then, and we believe he was safe. And if that is a safe call, then we maintain our challenge. … Again, I’m frustrated by the first one, though, because I see him as safe. And we have the same technology and the same video. I don’t know about that one. That frustrates me.”"
The Nationals skipper isn’t the only one who isn’t happy with the way replay is getting its start in baseball according to Olney. Red Sox manager John Farrell has had a couple of complaints (as seen in the link above) and Blue Jays manager John Gibbons as well.
Perhaps the biggest complaint in the early going is the amount of time it’s taking to complete what was supposed to be an expedited procedure, interrupting both the flow of the game and interfering with the arms of pitchers on the mound.
Perhaps it was better with the dirt-kicking and cap-flinging rather than the snooze-worthy sounds of announcers trying to vamp for three to four minutes while umpires and the New York “replay headquarters” come to a decision.