Cleat Geeks

Joe Maddon’s Replay Theory

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Chicago Cubs manager Joe Maddon was angry with a call on the final play of his team’s 5-2 loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers on June 24th and lashed out at the replay system, calling for “nerds” to analyze replays. “I think it screams for an independent group back there to research the video,” Maddon said after the game. “That’s what I think it screams for as opposed to working umpires that are actually on the field. I think you should get a bunch of nerds back there that know how to look at a videotape and then come to a conclusion. I think it would be much more interesting that way.”

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All reviews are administered at MLB headquarters in New York by umpires who make the final call. Umpires rotate into the role and back onto the field throughout the season. Joe Maddon was upset over a play in the bottom of the ninth with two outs. Right fielder Chris Denorfia lined a ball off the left-field wall that bounced right to left field Scott Van Slyke.

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Van Slyke made a perfect throw to second base as Denorfia was sliding in. He was called out on the field, but replays showed he might have gotten his left arm on the bag as he was being tagged on the front of jersey, which is what Maddon thought. After review, the call stood but wasn’t confirmed.

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“To say there was nothing definitive right there — I cannot disagree with more strongly,” Maddon said. “I have no idea why they would say that. It makes zero sense to me whatsoever. If the play was confirmed, I could almost live with that. To say it stands — it’s just not a cool way to go, game on the line. And it was obvious from that one shot he was absolutely safe. No questions asked.” If a play is confirmed, it means the replays definitively show the umpires made the right call. A call that stands reverts back to the call on the field as reply officials determine there wasn’t enough evidence to overturn.

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Chris Denorfia said he never should been in that situation with Anthony Rizzo and Kris Bryant due up behind him with the Cubs down three runs. “I wasn’t expecting it to end up like that, for sure,” Denorfia said. “It’s not a smart baseball play. It’s something I know not to do, to get thrown out when we’re trying to put an inning together. A lot of things went good for them on that play. The ball bounced right to him, he put it right on the bag, but it doesn’t matter. I shouldn’t have gone to second anyways.”

Denorfia felt that if he had been called safe originally, that call would have stood as well. He was asked whether he actually did get his arm to the bag before the tag. “I don’t know,” he responded. “At the time I was pretty angry at myself for doing that. I thought it was too close to overturn.”

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Maddon didn’t think so and would not criticize Denorfia for attempting the double despite being down three runs. His feeling is if you’re sure you’re going to make it and be safe then go for it. In Maddon’s mind, he was clearly safe. “I cannot believe the conclusion,” Maddon continued. “I wish whoever made that call could have been at Wrigley Field looking at our big screen if they wanted to see something definitive.”That might be the worst non-overturn I’ve seen to this point. Did I make that clear?”

I definitely agree with Maddon this, there should be people just analyzing replays because some calls that don’t get overturned, should have been overturned. It could cost a team a win in some cases.

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