Monday

Baseball Notes: Instant Replay/Poll, Brewer Panic Button & DFTU


Hello again everybody...

It's the start of a new week. And even though I generally hate Mondays, I feel slightly better than average today. Why, you ask? Because we've got a Triple Crown contender!!! But more on that tomorrow...

Today, it's more baseball. It's time to talk about the latest example of why MLB needs to take a serious look at Instant Replay. Then I'll address whether the fine folks who call themselves Brewer fans should be hovering over their panic button. And finally it's the early week edition of the DFTU.

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Let's do it...

If you missed it, the Mets swept a rain-shortened 2-game series against the Yankees over the weekend. Those of you who didn't take my advice about hating the Yankees on Friday must be awfully pleased. But there was a specific play in yesterday's 11-2 blowout that I'd like to address.

In the fourth inning, Mets 1b Carlos Delgado sliced a ball down the left field line that, upon further review, clearly struck the base of the foul pole meaning that it was a fair ball and a home run. (Don't get me started on why it's called a "Foul Pole" when any ball that hits it is considered "Fair".) Third base umpire Mike Reilly initially - and correctly - ruled the ball fair and gone. Yankees SS Derek Jeter argued the call claiming the ball had sliced foul. After the umpiring crew conferred, home plate umpire Bob Davidson overruled Reilly and declared the ball foul. This seemed odd since you'd assume that the third base umpire would have a better view of the ball than the home plate umpire, but they made the change none the less.

The change of course, instigated vehement arguments from the Mets coaching staff, resulting in bench coach Jerry Manuel getting thrown out of the game. Ultimately, the Mets won 11-2, so the blown call didn't cost them the game. But it was still an incorrect call that easily could've been made right.

After the game Davidson admitted that he had made a mistake.

"I (expletive) it up. I'm the one who thought it was a (expletive) foul ball. I saw it on the replay. I'm the one who (expletive) it up so you can put that in your paper," Davidson said. "Bolts and nuts, I (expletive) up. You've just got to move on. No one feels worse about it than I do."

So the question now becomes, is there a way for MLB to incorporate instant replay on a limited basis, so that calls like these which can be clearly determined via video can be called correctly on a constant basis?

I say yes. Start it in AAA if you feel you need a test-run, but clearly the technology exists. The NFL has used replay for years now with a very minor impact on the pace of their games. (Seriously, when you have 15 commercial breaks per quarter, what's one more?)

Don't get me wrong, I don't want to see reviews of safe/out calls at the bases, and I'm adamantly opposed to reviewing ball/strike calls. But if you can have a video hookup in one of the tunnels, then it wouldn't dramatically affect the pace of the game to have an umpire double-check on fair/foul or home run/not calls.

To whit, I give you the new Poll. You tell me what you think. Should MLB adopt replay on the limited basis I suggest? Or should they go full bore and review everything? Or are you completely opposed to the use of any replay in a game that is already viewed by some as being too slowly paced? Think it over and make your vote!

Next I have to have a conversation with you Brewer fans. Part of me feels like I'm picking on you a little bit, but I can't help it. You compose a sizable portion of my audience and in appreciation I feel like I have to pay you your fair share of attention.

So here's the thing. The Brewers have lost 5 in a row and 6 of their last 10. They're 20-24 and in last place in the NL Central. You've lost your best young pitcher for the year with a knee injury and your Ace has had health issues for his entire career. Your lineup on Sunday had only 4 batters hitting better than .250. And you had two hitters below .200, neither of which were a pitcher because you were in an AL park! And I think at this point I've made my feelings well known on the back end of your bullpen.

I'm sure you fine folks don't need me to tell you that your club has problems. And they're not of the minor, "turn-them-around-with-a-few-good-games" variety. So I have to ask, is it time for the panic button to be pushed?

That's tough to answer. I'm tempted to say, give it another week and see where they're at. But given my previous assertion that these problems aren't easily remedied, that wouldn't seen to make sense.

And if you're not going to panic given those ugly numbers, when are you going to panic?!

So the answer I guess is "yes". Panic. Call for heads to roll. Burn uniforms in effigy. Force Bernie Brewer to go into hiding.

Okay, so perhaps those suggestions are a bit drastic. But it wouldn't surprise me at this point to see some serious changes be made in the near future. And of course the first change that usually gets made is to fire the manager. I'm not saying this is all Ned Yost's fault. But this is a club that was supposed to be contending for the division title and is now mired 7 games behind the Cubs. Somethings got to give.

Sorry Ned, but I hope you weren't counting on retiring to a cottage on Lake Michigan.

Finally, it's time for everybody's favorite segment: the Dan's Favorite Teams Update!

Minnesota Twins: So much for getting healthy in Colorado! The Twins are 21-22 and in 3rd place in the AL Central, 2 games behind the Cleveland Indians.

Thank heavens the Tribe got swept by Cincinnati (seriously Cleveland... the Reds?! really?!) because the Twins managed to drop 2 out of 3 to the fourth-worst team in all of baseball. Yikes. Included in that dreadful series was a game on Sunday described by manager Ron Gardenhire as, "the ugliest game of the year".

The problem he's referring to there is the teams defense. The Twins have long been known for quality pitching and outstanding defense. This year, the defense has taken something of a step back. They've added some young and inexperienced players along with the usual crop of "affordable" (read: average at best) free agents. And when you do that while losing Torii Hunter, Jason Bartlett and Johan Santana, your defense is going to suffer.

All that can be overcome if the offense steps up and scores bunches of runs. But that hasn't been happening either. Not surprisingly the Twins rank in the lower-third of the league in Runs Scored.

The saving grace so far has been the "better than expected" performance of the Twins starting pitching. If they lose that, Twins fans may be joining Brewers fans hovered over the panic button far sooner than they'd like.

The Twins open a 4-game series with the Texas Rangers tonight at Metrodome before hitting the road to Motown over the weekend.

Arizona Diamondbacks: As often as I type sentences like these, they don't seem to get old. the D'backs are 28-16, the best record in the Major Leagues and in first place in the NL West, 5.5 games ahead of the L.A. Dodgers.

Arizona's coming off 2 straight series wins. A sweep last week over the hapless (unless they're playing the Twins) Rockies. Then they took 2 of three over the weekend from the Tigers.

Included in that Detroit series was the best start of the year by LHP Randy Johnson. Unit pitched 7 scoreless innings on Sunday scattering 6 hits and striking out 5. Brandon Webb, Dan Haren, Micah Owings and now Unit's going to get it going? If you're the rest of the NL, that's just plain scary. Heck, even Max Scherzer had a solid outing over the weekend after he'd struggled in his first couple of starts.

Considering that enough of the bats are still hot and the bullpen has been solid if not spectacular, the Snakes could be well on their way to running away and hiding with this thing.

Arizona's off tonight as they wing their way eastward for series with the Braves and Marlins this week.

That's all for today folks. Check back tomorrow for a look back at the 133rd Preakness Stakes and a peek forward to the 140th Belmont Stakes!

3 comments:

  1. How about that Boston cancer survivor throwing a no-hitter?

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  2. One of the guys the Twins were looking at in the Santana sweepstakes...

    *sigh*

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  3. Not that this is a basketball blog, or anything other than a "What Dan's currently thinking about in Sports" blog, but...what are the REAL odds that the Timberpuppies are going to get a pick higher than 4th?

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