Video instant replay used to overturn safe/out call for the 1st time in professional baseball history

and then another, and another.

Major league baseball began testing expanded video instant replay in the Arizona Fall league this week and yesterday, November 7, 2013, saw the 1st safe/out call overturned.  And here it is:

So far the test has been in place for 2 games. On day 1, 4 plays were challenged, and none overturned. Yesterday, however, 7 plays were challenged and 3 were overturned.  In addition to the stolen base, there was a reversal on a safe/out at 1st, along with this interesting situation:

In the bottom of the fifth inning, baserunner Kyle Kubitza was doubled off at second base after batter Alen Hanson flew out to center field, replay ruling that Kubitza missed retagging third base on his return to second (safe-to-out). Replays indicate that as 3B Umpire Tripp Gibson ran into left field to call the fly out, 1B Umpire Jeff Gosney and U2 Hoberg converged at second base while HP Umpire Sean Barber remained at home plate, leaving the touch at third fairly uncovered.

While I am a generally a traditionalist, I am in favor of using instant replay at the professional level. A benefit that I had not considered is the fact that, by having wrong calls reviewed, umpires will have the opportunity to learn. How many overturned calls on steals of 2nd do you think it will take before an ump realizes he may have to adjust his position? And you have to hope they learn from the uncovered base in the last scenario. Also, perhaps, umps who consistently make “wrong” calls may get additional training – or may be phased out. Ultimately, we want the most accurate umpires at the highest levels, and I think video instant replay may help us get there.

by Paul Simko


One response

  1. The out call on the steal of second, in this situation, is difficult because it’s very hard to determine whether the foot gets there before the high on the body tag when looked at in real time. This same thing occurs on plays at the plate or frankly anytime there is a sliding tag play where the tag is high. In many cases it really seem that I the tag is high and right at the base quite often the foot or leg gets in before the tag.

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