It didn’t take long for Mariner’s rookie catcher Jesus Sucre to make an impact in the MLB, bringing to light once again the need for replay technology in baseball following a bizarre double play. The play occurred in the second inning of a 9-5 loss to the Texas Rangers in Seattle last night.
Down 2-1 heading into the second inning, Raul Ibanez and Justin Smoak led off the inning with back to back singles. That resulted in runners being on first and second with no one out when the rookie Jesus Sucre stepping into a major league batter’s box for the first time. He hit a ground ball to first, which was relayed to second for an out, the throw back is where things get interesting.
Rangers shortstop Elvis Andrus relayed the ball back to first to attempt the double play, Sucre was called out on the play. However the Rangers fooled everyone watching, including the managers and umpires. Seattle manager Eric Wedge came out to contest the call thinking that first basemen Mitch Moreland’s foot had come off the base, which he had not. That was not the problem with the call.
Replays of the play clearly that Moreland wasn’t even the player who caught the throw from Andrus. Pitcher Justin Grimm had ran to first to cover the base after Moreland made the first throw to Andrus, and he was clearly off the base. Grimm had gone to cover the base, but he didn’t have to because Moreland was on first anticipating the throw. An outstretched Moreland appeared to make the catch, resulting in the umpire calling Sucre out.
The damage of the play was minimized by a two out double to drive in the tying run by Brendan Ryan, but the inning could have been much bigger had the Mariner’s been able to have the play reviewed.
All of the other major sports have embraced the technology of instant replay in some form in their sports. The NFL was one of the first to do so with their challenge rule, and the results have proven successful in overturning missed calls by the officials. In basketball, replay is used to make sure the proper amount of time is on the clock in crunch time, and to decide whether a made basket was a two or three point field goal. Soccer has even begun efforts to use replay to determine whether a ball made it past the line and into the goal.
In baseball however, replay is only used in the rare circumstance that it is too close to call whether or not a home run was fair or foul. They have been reluctant to embrace this technology. Those against the implementation of replay in baseball fear that its use would somehow take away from the game by causing delays and eliminating human error from the sport.
However plays like this showcase that baseball needs to change this policy and use replay to make the game fair for all teams involved. I’m not advocating the use of replay to determine whether a pitch was a ball or a strike, that would be ridiculous and lead to games being even longer than they already are.
Replay should be used to determine close outs, something that if called wrong can drastically alter the outcome of games. Whether a ball was inside or outside of the foul line should also be utilized, regardless of whether or not the ball goes over the fence for a home run.
The change would be beneficial for the league, and take a lot of pressure off of umpires, allowing them to better focus on other calls that aren’t reviewable. If the game is officiated more accurately, the players decide the outcome. Players are the ones that should determine who wins and loses ball games, they are the reason we love to watch the game. Officials are there to ensure the game is played fairly, and replay would greatly assist them in doing so while avoiding the controversy that comes with a bad call.
For Jesus Sucre, things can only go up for him from here. Although this was clearly not the debut he had planned for last night, it is one he can build upon on his way to a successful MLB career.
Follow me on Twitter @CharlieGille
The Guardian Express