While Major League Baseball instituted the replay review process with the idea of ensuring calls are properly made, it hasn’t been without hiccups. The Los Angeles Dodgers have often times come up short on challenges, and in one instance were apologized to by MLB for their incorrect decision despite reviewing the initial call.
However, in Wednesday’s 5-2 victory against the Chicago Cubs, the Dodgers somewhat surprisingly came away on the right side of a replay review. Chris Denorfia hit a line drive off the left field fence in the bottom of the ninth inning and was thrown out by Scott Van Slyke attempting to stretch it to a double.
Cubs manager Joe Maddon challenged the call, which was upheld after a three-minute and 15-second review, and went in the books as the final out of the game. After his team’s loss, Maddon expressed his disdain over the state of the review system and called for an immediate change to the process, according to ESPN’s Jesse Rogers:
I think it screams for an independent group back there to research the video,” Maddon said after the game. “That’s what I think it screams for as opposed to working umpires that are actually on the field. I think you should get a bunch of nerds back there that know how to look at a videotape and then come to a conclusion. I think it would be much more interesting that way.”
Maddon more specifically addressed the issue he took with the language the umpires used:
If the play was confirmed, I could almost live with that. To say it stands — it’s just not a cool way to go, game on the line. And it was obvious from that one shot he was absolutely safe. No questions asked.”
When a play is confirmed it means there was a sufficient amount of evidence to prove the correct call was made. When the umpires announce that a play stands, they are reverting back to the call made by the crew at the game and that there was an insufficient amount of evidence to overturn the call.
While Maddon took issue with the out, this photo captured by Dodgers team photographer Jon SooHoo is difficult to argue against:
Maddon isn’t alone among those who have some issue with the replay process. Given some of the cases where the Dodgers have been burned by it, manager Don Mattingly has also voiced his displeasure. The series with the Cubs provided more mixed results for the Dodgers when it comes to replay.
Adrian Gonzalez had a foul ball taken away from him by a fan on Tuesday, though after replay the Dodgers were awarded the third out of the inning. However, then on Thursday, Justin Turner appeared to hit a home run that bounced off the fencing above the outfield wall at Wrigley Field, but it was overturned and ruled a two-out triple instead.
Although Turner was stranded, it didn’t hurt the Dodgers. In a sense the ruling from Wednesday’s game serves as a bit of poetic justice after Maddon purposely stalled when some of the lights went out. Clayton Kershaw grew agitated by the Cubs manager’s actions and gave up a home run and gave up a home run once play resumed.