Manfred backs replay rulings on popup slides
Commissioner says officials have to call what they see
KANSAS CITY -- After two years of expanded instant replay review, the system has quickly become an accepted part of the game. Few would argue that potentially adding a minute or two to the length of a game isn't worth trying to get calls right.
There is one sticky area that has become an issue recently, however. Runners who slide into a base can lose contact with the bag for a split second after making contact. Fielders have been taught to hold the tag. As a result, runners who have been safe for more than 100 years are now sometimes being called out.
During Monday's World Series Media Day at Kauffman Stadium prior to Game 1 of the World Series on Tuesday night (7:30 p.m. ET air time on FOX; 8 p.m. ET game time), Commissioner Rob Manfred said he doesn't anticipate any tweaks that would change the way those plays are being judged.
In fact, Manfred said, this is an issue that had been anticipated.
"This is testimony to how good the people who put the replay system together really were," said Manfred, who will answer questions from fans at 6:30 p.m. ET on Tuesday in the Edward Jones Chatting Cage. "They actually warned us that when you go to replay, you're going to have calls that are going to get made that never used to get made. And this was an example.
"And we made a conscious decision to go ahead, point one, with the replay. And point two, even if it was not a call that had traditionally been made, we had to accept that if the replay officials see it, they've got to call it. You can't tell them not to call what they see."
The Commissioner said these calls have "not gnawed" at him.
"Because we foresaw the problem," he said. "And we made a conscious decision about how we thought it had to be handled.
"I think that that call is going to stay the way it is. And I think the fundamentals of that call are that you cannot ask a replay official to ignore what he sees on the replay. He has to call what he sees. If you want it called the same old way, you probably shouldn't have had replay."
On a related item, Manfred said there has not yet been discussion of a rule change that would govern takeout slides, such as the one by Dodgers runner Chase Utley that fractured the leg of Mets shortstop Ruben Tejada in the National League Division Series.
"Those discussions haven't really moved forward," Manfred said. "We've been playing those games out there, a very occupying activity for us. I suspect that will be an issue where the conversations will resume.
"And I want to be clear about this. This isn't about Chase Utley. This conversation about player safety at second base began in our office months before that particular play. It progressed to the point that we had some preliminary conversations with the [Major League Baseball Players Association] about it. And I fully expect that we will continue those conversations with the MLBPA in the offseason."