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May 25, 2013 at 5:35 PM

Blown double-play call fuels more instant-replay discussion

Everyone is still buzzing about the blown double-play call in the second inning last night, in which Rangers pitcher Justin Grimm actually grabbed the throw well off first base. Down on the field, it looked like first baseman Mitch Moreland had caught the ball, to the extent that Mariners manager Eric Wedge‘s argument to first-base umpire Jeff Nelson was that Moreland had pulled his foot. It was a valid argument, but a moot point, of course, because the throw never reached Moreland. Wedge didn’t see that, nor did Justin Smoak, who had been forced at second and was looking back at the play.

“I was just looking at the umpire to see if he called him safe or out,” Smoak said. “I couldn’t even tell. I didn’t see the replay until after the game, but I heard  about it as soon as I went in. It was just one of those things I guess. I think if Wedgie would have known that going out there, it might have been a little different story. Nobody really knew until the guys go down and look at the video. That’s when we knew.”

Naturally, the play brought up questions about instant replay, something Wedge has always been lukewarm about.

“I think we are pushing towards it,” he said. “Some of that’s going to be inevitable. It just has to be tempered. I think that’s where everybody struggles, where do you draw the line?. I’ve always been a big believer in the human element of it, but I think there’s a place for the replay.

“Again, they’re human. Hey, no one in here saw it. Including myself, who was doing the same thing he was doing, watching the bag, listening for the pop of the ball. The only way anyone saw it was when they had access to the replay. By then, it was too late. And even then, it’s not like you look at the replay once and say, ‘Oh, there it is.” You’re like, “Did I just see what I thought I saw on replay?”  Then you have to play it again. They don’t have that luxury.”

Wedge said he doesn’t feel the need to bring up the play tonight, even knowing now that Nelson blew it.

“No, it’s a dead issue,” he said. “He knows as well as the rest of us knows.”

On the subject of instant replay, Brendan Ryan said, “Whatever help they need that we can give them … maybe it’s something we need to explore a little more. Nobody wants to look stupid out there. It would have been first and third with one out. That’s a tough one.

“Personally, I thought Moreland caught it. I didn’t even know. I heard a couple innings later about what happened. It fooled me too. That’s maybe one of those things that maybe someone is upstairs and they pick up the phone and appeal it really quick. I’m definitely not in favor of making these games 5 ½ hours long. If I saw it that way, how could he not see it the same way? It looked very casual. My opinion is lesser than any of those guys out there calling the games.

“You still want some human element. There is always going to be argued strikes and balls. There has to be a point at which human error is involved. That’s for Joe Torre and Tony (LaRussa) to figure out. They all know what they are doing. They will make the right calls.”

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