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.”

14 Comments

It does need to be fixed for sure. One can understand the mentality though—how do you think umps feel being challenged or upstaged every game by every manager? Well, they don’t feel great about it and they have their own back in NY who probably have a little bit of reluctance to overturn their colleagues” decisions.
Kind of like police investigating their fellow officers.

Last year they tried to get it right…..this year it seems they are trying to protect their brethren. I’ve seen some pretty clear and convincing not get turned over I just don’t get it. Maybe they’ll have to go to people other than umps deciding replays….or the guys deciding the replays cannot know what the decision on the field is although I’m not sure how they’d accomplish that.

Not knowing the call on the field would take the presumed bias out of the equation. Good idea.

I have heard that idea mentioned before – maybe the radio/tv guys or maybe here – and that is a great idea – send the video and ask for a call, not to confirm a call

And if they’re not going to do it correctly than just don’t do it at all …at least you won’t feel like you’ve gotten screwed over twice.

Good comments there, Gk, both of them. And I like Dan’s police analogy too.
I was happy to hear Brad, or anybody, speak out on what we’ve all been seeing this season. I got so hung up on studying the tag that I didn’t realize Pena had blocked the plate.
Overall it was a game we should have won but too many things happened. And they’ve GOT to bring in that CF fence. That wouldn’t even cost that much.

I can’t disagree with Ausmus, or the others who’ve posted. This either needs to be fixed or just done away with. Too many calls that we as fans can see that are wrong won’t help the game at all.

What about using a independent or sport writers panel one on east coast one on west coast and use the opposite panel when needed and make call as they see it

I would think that if you have non-umpires making the review decisions, the on-field umpires would revolt. And on that note, the on-field umpires aren’t doing such a great job themselves. Between the poor umpiring, failing review system,and the ASG nonsense, I haven’t have this many complaints with MLB in years.

Yeah, it’s pretty clear the umps were upset last year about how often they had calls overturned and lobbied to have the system “adjusted” this year. Because of course their egos are more important than actually getting the call correct.

How about retired Supreme Court judges for the reviews?

They’d be great except for that weird hangup on having good eyesight. I didn’t even know they made eyeglasses that large.

When they started up with the review thing, I commented on here my aversion to copying anything the NFL did. Now MLB has joined the NFL in doing reviews and still getting the call wrong. That was my exact fear.

Some how they have to fix the review process . Rich is correct after review the call is still wrong . How in the heck does this happen ?

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