Upon Further Review, This is Not Baseball


As the trail runner representing the go-ahead run, Washington Nationals catcher José Lobatón had no business getting picked off at first in the eighth inning of a winner-take-all game. He put himself in a bad situation by roaming too far away from the bag, allowing Willson Contreras’ snap throw to induce a slide.

Lobatón’s mental error at the season’s most important moment shouldn’t be ignored. Nor should his physical error of allowing his foot to briefly lose contact with the base. But he never stood a chance. He is just one person, up against a dragnet of people with the latest technology to take him down on a technicality.

Video: José Lobatón Picked Off at First on Controversial Replay Review9hr ago

A single umpire did not make the biggest call of the season. One pair of trained eyes did not make the biggest call. Instead, it was made by a team of experts working remotely, pouring over the replay from different angles like the FBI examining the Zapruder film.

There is no doubt that Lobatón’s foot momentarily lost contact with the base. But even after some four-dozen viewings, I am not convinced Anthony Rizzo tagged him while he was off. The critical part of my brain believes he did, but that conclusion is not purely based on the visual evidence.

My opposition to replay in baseball is not new. But this morning’s anger is gripping and righteous. Calls like the one that decided last night’s game are tough to stomach, even if they may be technically correct.

Going frame by frame to see if a sliding runner came millimeters off a base is antithetical to the true spirit of baseball. It’s not. If baseball had a Constitution, the overly indulgent and strict adjudication of replay would be unconstitutional. There is simply …read more

Source:: The Big Lead

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