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No More 'Manager Moonwalk,' Says Joe Torre

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MLB's executive VP of baseball operations says changes are coming to replay review.

Patrick Smith

For those of you who like old-fashioned manager arguments, you might be in luck, according to Ken Davidoff of the New York Post. Joe Torre, who as executive vice-president of baseball operations for MLB is in charge of such things, says changes are coming:

We won’t see that insincere, time-killing stroll that became instantly and understandably unpopular among fans.

The new mechanism hasn’t yet been resolved, although a manager signaling from the dugout would be an obvious tactic. Regardless, Torre took responsibility for the soon-to-be-extinct tactic.

“That was really my baby,” Torre said. “The one thing we talked about challenging, I didn’t want to take away from the manager the fact that he could run out there and argue. I didn’t really plan on them meandering out there and having conversations, You live and learn.

Well, I dunno. I kind of liked the "manager moonwalk," and Rick Renteria certainly made use of it in his one year as Cubs manager, as he had the most challenges of anyone in the major leagues (and that doesn't even count the times he "moonwalked" out there only to shuffle right back into the dugout when his staff signaled the call wasn't worth challenging).

The most disturbing part of Torre's quote is this (emphasis added):

I didn’t want to take away from the manager the fact that he could run out there and argue.

Um... I thought that was the whole point of the replay-review system. To eliminate the ridiculous arguments that solved nothing, and to get the calls right. In that, I think the 2014 review system did pretty well. But by making it a "challenge" system and introducing an element of strategy, MLB got it wrong. The point is to get the calls right. If you're not going to allow a manager time to figure out whether it's worth challenging or not, you're going to see a lot fewer calls actually reviewed -- because without that time to decide whether it's worth it or not, many managers might just sit in the dugout and not do it at all.

Or does Torre simply want more "fire" from his managers before they challenge? With the new generation of buttoned-down guys like Mike Matheny, Robin Ventura, Brad Ausmus and others, that's just not going to happen.

Rick Renteria led the major leagues in ejections in 2014 with six. By my count Joe Maddon was tossed four times last season, mostly for arguing balls and strikes. One of those times is pictured above. There will still be arguments. But we don't have to have them on every close play.

Torre is 74 years old and while he was a fine player and manager in his time, his time has passed. Let's just get the calls right. If anything, they should tweak the system to allow more reviews, not fewer.