When MLB rolled out its expanded instant replay system to start the 2014 season the point was not to insure that umpires get some of the calls right, or even most of the calls right. Major League umpires are good enough to do that already. No, the point was to get all of the calls right. Or at least, to insure that all obviously blown calls are corrected.
But after a last weekend’s disaster with the instant replay officials who review calls from a central MLB command center in New York screwing up on at least two clear occasions, another call on the very first pitch of Friday night’s game between the Baltimore Orioles and Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park in Boston went to the replay.
And again, the MLB instant replay officials got the call completely wrong.
Also for the second time in seven days, the obviously blown call went against the Red Sox. Last Saturday, as The Inquisitr reported this week, it was a tag play in a game against the New York Yankees.
In Friday’s game, Baltimore’s Nick Markakis laced the first pitch from Red Sox starter John Lackey down the left field line. Umpires on the field signaled “fair” and as left fielder Grady Sizemore scrambled to retrieve it, Markakis cruised in with a double.
But Red Sox manager John Farrell challenged the call. As is clear in this screen capture, the ball clearly landed to the left of the foul line, hitting dirt but no chalk — a foul ball.
The result should have been strike one, with Markakis going back to the batter’s box to continue his leadoff at-bat against Lackey.
The instant replay was shown from several angles on the Fenway Park Jumbotron video screen, and the crowd of 36,048 who endured 39 degree weather to attend the game got a good look at the evidence. Their verdict was also clear.
But the MLB replay officials in New York didn’t see it that way. They let the erroneous “fair” call stand and Markakis went on to score the first run in a game eventually won by the Orioles 8-4.
After the game, Farrell — who was fined by MLB after last Saturday’s debacle for saying that it was difficult for him “to have faith in the system” — was restrained.
“Video is available to us. We followed the steps. Unfortunately, the call stood. We challenged it. It became inconclusive,” he said.
After Friday night’s full slate of games, MLB has seen 110 instant replay challenges. Of those, 41, or about 37 percent, have resulted in calls on the field being reversed.