Baltimore Orioles: Are teams being ghosted by instant replay?

The home run ball haunted the Baltimore Orioles once again this afternoon. The Birds, led by starter Dylan Bundy, surrendered five home runs to San Diego. Now in fairness Bundy didn’t give them all up, but the tone was set early. Bundy’s line: 4.0 IP, 6 H, 5 R, 3 BB, 4 K.

Renato Nunez actually gave the O’s a 1-0 lead with an RBI-double in the first inning. Part of the problem is that when the Orioles score early and get on the board, it’s only one run. They can’t be satisfied with that; they need to play for the big inning.

True to form, Garcia’s two-run homer in the second gave San Diego the lead at 2-1. Hinder would add an RBI-groundout later in the inning, and the Birds trailed 3-1. One inning later, Reyes hit his first of two homers on the day, and San Diego led 4-1.

But the O’s did mount a rally. Jonathan Villar smacked a fourth inning two-run homer. However the next two innings brought three more San Diego runs off of the long ball. Pedro Severino would add a solo homer, and the O’s would also score on a bases loaded walk. But when the smoke cleared, the O’s fell 10-5.

Based on something that happened at the tail end of the game however, I think that the league needs to take a look at instant replay and how it’s utilized. In the top of the eighth with San Diego well in front, Tatis grounded out to short on what appeared to be a fairly routine play. However San Diego thought he was safe, a fact that instant replay seemed to back up. The only issue was that San Diego was out of replay challenges.

However as we’ve seen numerous times, the San Diego bench all but goaded the umpires into ordering an umpire review. They ruled Tatis safe, and he proceeded to attempt a steal of second. He was thrown out.

However again, the San Diego bench complained to the point to where the umpiring crew ordered a review. The call was overturned, and Tatis was awarded second base. He would score on an RBI-double. So San Diego in effect scored a run on what should have been a routine ground out to short.

Ow that one run made no difference in the final result. None whatsoever. However it could have given a different game situation. In fact, one could reasonably ask why a team is begging for a replay review when they’re up big in a game like that. But that aside, is it fair that teams are basically getting an unlimited number of challenges?

We’ve seen Toronto and Boston both do this shamelessly over the years. In some cases teams even do it before they’ve spent their instant replay challenge. The mentality being if we can goad the umpire into reviewing the play on his own accord, we can save that challenge. However obviously if the umpire wanted to review the play on his own, he would have done so immediately.

This is a loophole through which teams are getting extra challenges and taking advantage. The rule should be changed to either not allow umpire reviews at all, or to provide for manager ejections if the umpires are in essence begged to review plays “on their own accord.” Otherwise things could end up being that the manager with the best politicking skills wins the game. And that’s not how it’s supposed to be.

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