Red Sox manager, players in favor of instant replay use
Two weeks ago, the Red Sox lost a game after umpire Jerry Meals called Daniel Nava out on a close play at the plate in the eighth inning. Replays showed Nava slid safely under the tag of Rays catcher Jose Molina, and Meals later admitted he blew the call.
Surely, then, Nava must be in favor of a proposal that would expand the use of replay on any play that doesn't involve balls and strikes.
"You don't like to take the human element out of the game. That's what makes baseball baseball," Nava said Thursday. "But if it can help make some calls right, I think everyone's a fan of that."
Nava has been on the wrong end of several missed calls this season, including a play in Detroit in June in which it was ruled that he dropped the transfer after catching a fly ball in right field. Like the play at the plate against the Rays, that call likely would be overturned under the new replay system.
The proposal - which is still pending approval from the umpires, the players' union and the owners and would be implemented next season - would allow managers to challenge as many as three calls per game. Only one challenge could come during the first six innings, while two challenges could come after the seventh.
"In general, the inclusion of video replay, I think it's good for the game," manager John Farrell said. "I think the game is ready for additional technology to be brought in, and it'll be interesting to see if any adjustments or what the final use of it or availability of it will be once they get through the negotiations in the offseason. I think the fact that you have it (available) is probably what everybody at field level is looking for."
The consensus in the clubhouse was that expanded replay would be a positive development, especially because the technology is available.
"I think it's a great thing," outfielder Jonny Gomes said. "I truly don't think it's a knock on the umpires, but the game is so fast now you need a backup. We get caught off-guard and so do the umpires. The game is faster and we've got even faster technology."
One concern: Reviewing plays may extend the length of games that already are too long. That said, Major League Baseball has suggested that replays wouldn't take longer than three minutes, and managers wouldn't be allowed to argue any call, either before or after it is reviewed.
"It's not going to slow down the game," Gomes said. "You have a bang-bang play at the plate, and you can literally run into the clubhouse, watch the replay and run back in one minute and you know what happened. (Under the current system), some umpire's yelling at the manager and they have to go into the tunnel and you've got 15 minutes.
"I would take slowing the game down as opposed to a call not going our way and we get knocked out of first. I can be watching the game on my iPhone in another city, and I can see if he's safe or out in two minutes. And you're talking about letting that go the other way? There are a lot more things they could worry about that slow down the game even more."