Ausmus on replay: “The system needs to be fixed”
Brad Ausmus and Matt Martin thought they had another run when they saw the replay of Anthony Gose’s slide into home plate Tuesday night. Ausmus’ postgame frustration had to do with more than that call.
What began as a review about the replay challenge in Ausmus’ postgame session shifted into a lengthy challenge from Ausmus about the replay system itself, and what constitutes enough video evidence to make a play worth challenging.
“In my mind, instant replay has regressed this year. It’s gone backwards,” he said. “And I know I’m not the only one across baseball who feels that way.
“Very quickly in 2014, you kind of had an understanding of where that line was between sufficient and insufficient evidence. That line is blurry now. There’s been a number of calls this year that I think a year ago would have been overturned. I’m not sure I have a solution for it, but I think it’s moving backwards.
“And I’ll say this: I was a big fan of instant replay last year. I thought it was a good thing. I thought for the most part, they changed calls in order to get the play right, and they did that on a regular basis. I’m not seeing that this year.”
The Tigers, Ausmus said, had to decide whether to challenge the tag or whether Pena illegally blocked the plate. They could not challenge both.
“I thought you could make the argument that he might have blocked the plate as well,” he said. “That’s a much more amorphous rule, and even harder to get overturned on a challenge, so we went with the play that we thought had a better chance of being overturned, which was the actual tagging of Gose as he slid into home.”
Said Martin: “It was probably both. He looked safe and that’s what you are going to challenge. But once [Pena] caught the ball, he jumped to block the plate and he over-shot it and Gose slid in between. But he looked safe initially and that’s what you want to challenge. The other is so much up to interpretation. Safe or out is not up to interpretation.”
The review lasted 3 minutes, 38 seconds.
“Once it kept dragging on,” Martin said, “and David Price was like, ‘Oh, I like it!’ Brad and myself go, ‘No, if it’s dragging on like that, they’re not going to overturn it. They’re going to keep it the same.’ David’s like, ‘No, no, he’s safe. You can see it on the video, he’s safe.'”
After the lengthy review, the call stood. It was not confirmed. That got Ausmus going after the game.
“I’d like someone to explain to me what sufficient and insufficient evidence is,” he said, “because last year we had a pretty good idea what that was, and I can’t tell you what it is this year. I really can’t.”
Asked if that has affected the challenges they make, Ausmus continued.
“There’s been so many that we thought were clear that there’s been no change, where we thought there should’ve been a change,” Ausmus said. “That’s what I’m saying: We don’t know where the line is. We do not understand when they’re going to overturn a play unless it is absolutely blatant. And that’s a problem.
“So sometimes we’re just throwing a Hail Mary. We think it’s conclusive and we’re throwing a Hail Mary, and they come back and they say they can’t confirm, or it’s unconfirmed. I just don’t know what the line is. Last year, we knew what the line was. We had a pretty good idea when we were challenging, whether we had a shot or not, and sometimes we took risks when we weren’t sure if we had a shot. But generally speaking, when we challenged and we knew it was going to be overturned, it was overturned. I think the system needs to be fixed.”