Bucs like idea of human element
Play from Saturday night's game changes no one's mind
SAN FRANCISCO -- Advocates of replay use in baseball can point to the Pirates' double play that shouldn't have been Saturday and say that's why umpires need further help than is currently offered by the Major Legague's new system.
As for the Pirates themselves, they're having none of it.
"I would hope not," first baseman Adam LaRoche said. "I hope when they start doing that, I'm long gone out of this ballgame."
Replay came to the forefront Saturday when the Pirates turned a strange double play in the bottom of the fourth inning against the Giants. With Bengie Molina on second and Scott McClain on first, Aaron Roward smacked a liner above the head of Pirates shortstop Luis Cruz. Cruz made a leaping try on the ball, but it hit off of his left wrist and dropped to the ground. Cruz picked up the ball and tossed it to second baseman Freddy Sanchez, who was standing on second base along with Molina. Sanchez then tagged Molina, and second-base umpire Tom Hallion ruled Molina and McClain were both out.
But the replays clearly showed Sanchez's right foot on the bag when he caught the ball, removing the force play on Molina, who should have been ruled safe, a fact that Hallion admitted to a pool reporter Saturday.
So even though in this instance it went in the Pirates' favor, wouldn't it be better to have a replay system in which more calls are made correctly?
"Personally, I like the human element," Bucs center fielder Nate McLouth said. "I like the judgment where you actually have to see it and you can't go back. I think for home runs it's good, for boundary calls like that, but I like the fact that their calls stand and can't be changed."
Said LaRoche: "This stuff's been around for 100 years. Guys were OK with [boundary calls]. You start talking about other stuff, it would change everything. I'm definitely against it. That's the beauty of the game. Sometimes you get away with some things; sometimes you don't."
As for the man at the center of the play, Sanchez didn't want to get involved in discussions.
"I was just tagging everybody I could," Sanchez said.
Geoff Lepper is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.