Bud Selig has repeatedly downplayed the outcry for expanded instant replay this year, which is why this comment from a Q & A with Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times on Thursday was pretty surprising and downright refreshing.
You have said you want to expand instant replay to include reviews of fair or foul balls and trapped balls. Will that expanded replay be in place for next season?
“I think we’ll have it for sure. They’re working on cameras in all the ballparks. We need the right cameras. Should we have them by next year? We’d better.”
That’s what we have longed to hear from Selig for a long time now, but actions speak much louder than words. Expanded replay for fair-or-foul balls and trapped-or-caught balls was actually negotiated into the new collective bargaining agreement last November, though the implementation was subject to negotiations between MLB and the umpires’ union. It was announced back in March that the two sides weren’t able to come to an agreement in time for this season. MLB also wants to make sure that they have the proper technology in place in all 30 parks. Let’s hope Selig has more sense of urgency to get this done than he has shown with the committee on the Athletics-to-San Jose case. Thursday’s answer was a pretty good start, though.
By the way, Shaikin’s Q & A is worth a read. Selig addresses a wide variety of topics, including the new Wild Card format and whether he showed a double standard by allowing the Moores to take $200 million in TV money from the recent sale of the Padres, but wouldn’t allow Frank McCourt to do the same with the Dodgers. Really interesting stuff.
Update (11:09 PM EDT):
From unlucky to lucky, the Cardinals maintained their position in the National League Wild Card race with walk-off victory over the Reds on Thursday night.
The Cardinals went into the top of the ninth with a 3-2 lead over the Reds, but saw the game tied when Scott Schebler dribbled a two-strike, two out ground ball down the third base line. It seemed as if the baseball gods had turned their backs on the Cardinals.
In the bottom of the ninth against reliever Blake Wood, Matt Carpenter drew a one-out walk. Randal Grichuk then struck out, leaving all of the Cardinals’ hopes on Yadier Molina. Molina went ahead 2-0 in the count, then ripped a 95 MPH fastball to left field. The ball bounced high and over the left field fence for what seemed like an obvious ground-rule double. Carpenter motored around third base and scored the winning run.
The Cardinals poured onto the field in celebration and the umpires walked off the field. Manager Bryan Price wanted to have the play reviewed, but when he went onto the field, the umpires were nowhere to be found. Price chased after them but to no avail. As the Cardinals left the field and the stadium emptied, the Reds remained in the dugout. The Reds’ relievers were left in a bit of purgatory, standing aimlessly in left field after exiting the bullpen. Finally, the game was announced as complete over the P.A. system at Busch Stadium. The results are great if you’re a Cardinals fan, but terrible if you’re a Mets or Giants fan.
As Jon Morosi points out, the rules clearly state that the signage above the fence in left field is out of the field of play. The umpires got it wrong.
Price, however, also took too long to speak to the umpires. Per Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch:
If this happened between two teams playing a meaningless game, it would’ve been a lot easier to swallow, but Thursday’s Reds-Cardinals game had implications on not only the Cardinals’ future, but the Mets’ and Giants’ as well.
Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman went 0-for-4 during Thursday’s win against the Phillies, snapping his hitting streak at 30 games. It marked the longest hitting streak of the 2016 season. Freeman’s streak of 46 consecutive games reaching base safely ended as well.
The longest hitting streak in Atlanta Braves history belongs to Dan Uggla, who hit in 33 consecutive games in 2011. Tommy Holmes hit in 37 straight for the Boston Braves in 1945.
During his hitting streak, Freeman hit .384/.485/.670 with 11 doubles, seven home runs, 27 RBI, and 26 runs scored in 136 plate appearances. That padded what were already very strong numbers on the season. After Thursday’s game, Freeman is overall batting .306/.404/.572 with 33 home runs, 88 RBI< and 101 runs scored in 677 plate appearances.