Source: USA TODAY
The reaction was quick once the St. Louis Cardinals broadcasters realized the call had been blown:
“Is that reviewable?” asked analyst and former pitcher Al Hrabosky.
Of course not, though umpire Mark Wegner’s ruling of a ground-rule double Thursday was clearly wrong once the TV audience – and the broadcasters – saw a replay.
The ball hit along the left field line by New York Mets outfielder Rick Ankiel leading off the seventh inning turned into a boundary play – baseball’s current replay use to change calls is limited to boundary plays – but this was the wrong boundary.
Only plays involving potential home runs – fair or foul, over the fence or not – currently can be reviewed, though commissioner Bud Selig said earlier Thursday that baseball is moving closer to expanded replay for 2014.
“My opinion has evolved,” Selig said after Joe Torre, MLB executive vice-president, made a presentation to owners. Torre will be back in front of the owners in August with information from a study and proposals that could lead to expanding replay as far as everything but ball and strike calls.
Thursday’s play in St. Louis would be a prime candidate – a small step, really — no matter how much further baseball is willing to go.
Wegner correctly ruled the ball over third base was fair, but it then bounced into foul territory, where it caromed off the top of the low wall in front of the stands. Cardinals left fielder Allen Craig scooped up the ball and threw to second base in time for second baseman Matt Carpenter to tag out Ankiel.
But Wegner ruled the ball went in and out of the stands and thus was a ground-rule double.
As it turned out, the play had little impact on the game as St. Louis relievers pitched out of what became a bases-loaded jam with the Mets already leading 4-1.
Cardinals manager Mike Matheny briefly discussed the play with Wegner.
Torre said one possibility under discussion is allowing managers to challenge calls, like NFL coaches do. He said he does not like the idea of challenges but that opinion is not unanimous on the subcommittee he serves on with former Cardinals manager Tony La Russa and Braves president John Schuerholz.
The group will make the recommendations to be presented to the owners.