By now, I'm sure you've seen the home run that was hit by the Athletics' Adam Rosales in the ninth inning of Wednesday night's game against the Indians that was ruled a double, even after the umpires used replay review. In case you haven't yet, here it is:
I don't think I have to repeat everything I've written over the last four years about replay review. We need it, and we need it yesterday. One of the problems with the blown call Wednesday night was Angel Hernandez, universally viewed as one of the worst of all MLB umpires. (Incidentally, Will Leitch's takedown of Hernandez is well worth reading.)
Major League Baseball issued a statement Thursday on this issue:
MLB executive vice president for baseball operations Joe Torre said via a statement: "By rule, the decision to reverse a call by use of instant replay is at the sole discretion of the crew chief. In the opinion of Angel Hernandez, who was last night's crew chief, there was not clear and convincing evidence to overturn the decision on the field. It was a judgment call, and as such, it stands as final. "Home and away broadcast feeds are available for all uses of instant replay, and they were available to the crew last night. Given what we saw, we recognize that an improper call was made. Perfection is an impossible standard in any endeavor, but our goal is always to get the calls right. Earlier this morning, we began the process of speaking with the crew to thoroughly review all the circumstances surrounding last night's decision."
Unfortunately, this can't be reversed after review, so the A's might have been cost a victory. The home run would have tied the game; of course, we can't know who would have won under that circumstance. But what if the A's miss the playoffs by one game?
There are many suggestions as to how replay review should be instituted; this Jayson Stark article from last January sums them all up.
Given the problems with what happened Wednesday night in Cleveland, I'm going to lean toward a different system than the one I've been in favor of in the past (a fifth umpire on each crew, who would serve as "replay umpire" in the press box). Instead, I think MLB should go with the National Hockey League's system -- have people set up in MLB Network's headquarters in New Jersey, where all the game feeds are visible on multiple screens, and have the crew in each stadium contact them for review. It wouldn't take any longer, and would cost less.
But let's get this done. No more excuses. It must be in place for 2014.