Selig brushes off calls for expanded instant replay

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Poor umpiring and high-profile blown calls have been one of the biggest storylines of the playoffs so far, but commissioner Bud Selig made it clear today in an interview with Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com that he has no plans to expand instant replay:

I don’t really have any desire to increase the amount of replay, period. This goes on every time there’s a controversial call. I understand the Phil Cuzzi call and others. But frankly, I’m quite satisfied with the way things are. We need to do a little work, clean up some things. But do I think we need more replay? No. Baseball is not the kind of game that can have interminable delays.

The first round isn’t even over yet and we’ve already had Phil Cuzzi ruling Joe Mauer’s double a foul ball, Jerry Meals ruling Chase Utley’s foul ball fair, and C.B. Bucknor botching multiple calls at first base. And let’s be clear about something: Those are not, as Selig puts it, “controversial calls,” because that trivializes the issue by implying that they were something other than flat-out wrong.
We’re not talking about inconsistent strike zones or bang-bang plays being ruled the wrong way, although certainly those are issues that Selig should be looking to address as well. No, we’re talking about blown calls in hugely important situations. In every case instant replay could have corrected them within minutes, but Selig wants us to be satisfied with the idea that “baseball is not the kind of game that can have interminable delays”?
So, bad umpiring and incorrect calls are acceptable as long as they’re really quick? And since when is baseball worried about delays? Nearly every playoff game is running well over three hours at this point, with expanded commercial breaks and snail-like pacing, so spending a few extra minutes to review plays that can make or break a team’s season seems reasonable. If the umpires are unable or unwilling to get these calls right, they need help.

Angels’ Andrelton Simmons opts out of final 5 games

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ANAHEIM, Calif. — Shortstop Andrelton Simmons has opted out of the remainder of the Los Angeles Angels’ season.

The Angels announced the four-time Gold Glove-winning shortstop’s decision Tuesday before they faced the San Diego Padres.

Los Angeles (24-31) is still technically in the playoff race with five games left in the regular season, and Simmons clearly caught the Angels by surprise, although the club said it respected his decision.

The 31-year-old Simmons, who can be a free agent this winter, is finishing his fifth year with the Angels. After spraining his ankle in late July and missing 22 games, Simmons is currently batting .297 with 10 RBIs while playing his usual stellar defense, albeit with four errors in 30 games.

“At this time, I feel this is the best decision for me and my family,” Simmons said in a statement. “We don’t know what the future holds, but we would like to sincerely thank the Angels organization and Angels fans for welcoming and making us feel at home.”

Manager Joe Maddon acknowledged he was caught by surprise when general manager Billy Eppler told him about Simmons’ decision Monday night after Simmons went 1 for 4 with an RBI single in the Angels’ home finale. Maddon texted Simmons, but hadn’t heard back by Tuesday afternoon.

“I’ve really enjoyed this guy a lot,” Maddon said. “I’m a big fan. This guy is a good baseball player, and I’ve enjoyed the conversations, too. It’s just unfortunate. He’s really a big part of what we’re doing right now.”

Simmons is a favorite of Angels fans for his defensive wizardry, and owner Arte Moreno has described Simmons as perhaps his favorite player to watch on the roster. Simmons has batted .281 with 36 homers and 281 RBIs during his five seasons with Los Angeles, and he won the Gold Glove in 2017 and 2018.

“He’s a thinking kind of a player, and I’ve enjoyed him a lot,” Maddon said.

Simmons will be a free agent this winter, and the Angels have an obvious replacement for him in David Fletcher, who has a .374 on-base percentage while regularly hitting leadoff for the Angels during his breakout major league season. Fletcher has been playing second base since Simmons’ return from injury.

But the Angels haven’t publicly closed the door on Simmons’ return, and he could be given a qualifying offer. Maddon has repeatedly said he would like Simmons to return in 2021 if possible.

The Angels haven’t had a winning season during Simmons’ five years in Anaheim, although Simmons said last week he wasn’t discouraged by the lack of team success. Simmons played his first four major league seasons in Atlanta, and he hasn’t appeared in the postseason since 2013.

Simmons also said he hadn’t been involved in any recent contract talks with the Angels, but he had enjoyed playing for the club. When asked if he wanted to return to the Halos, Simmons said he would have to “plead the fifth.”