McClendon welcomes addition of instant replay
PEORIA, Ariz. -- Lloyd McClendon is waiting for Major League officials to tour the various Spring Training sites in Arizona to provide complete details on this year's new instant replay rules, but the new Mariners skipper likes the idea of having a chance to challenge crucial calls.
McClendon is returning to the manager's seat for the first time since 2005 when he was with the Pirates. He was known then as a skipper who got into it at times with umpires, including a well-known incident in his first year on the job in 2001 when he ripped first base out of the ground and stalked into the dugout at PNC Park after an argument with umpire Rick Reed.
That incident led to a fine for McClendon, but has since earned him considerable air time on highlight reels of some of baseball's best ejections.
He figures the replay system gives managers a chance to possibly win an argument now, without actually having to yell and scream -- or steal a base.
"I just look at it like it's going to save me a lot of money," McClendon said with a chuckle. "Bases are safe. I wish they'd have had [replay] back then."
McClendon is fully in favor of the new system, which is currently being clarified in teams' camps in Florida by an MLB contingent led by Joe Torre and Tony La Russa. He said he's been told managers will throw a flag onto the field, much like with NFL coaches, in order to challenge a call. But the finer points of the system will be explained when Torre and La Russa get to Arizona later this month.
"I think it's going to be another decision, an important decision that a manager will have to make in the course of a game," McClendon said. "When do you use it? When do you figure it's important? Because a lot of times, you can lose a game in the fourth inning. It's not necessarily the eighth or ninth inning. So you have to be smart about how you use it.
"And we have to figure out how we develop my relationship with [bench coach Trent Jewett] and our video guy and getting that information to me right away. It's still a work in progress. If you're right, you don't lose [your ability to challenge again]. So you have to be smart about when you do it."