The Blue Jays were victims of what appeared to be an incorrect call at the plate in the eighth inning of Saturday night’s game against the Athletics. With Melky Cabrera on first base, Jose Bautista doubled down the left field line. Cabrera motored around the bases, heading home in an attempt to cut the Athletics’ lead to 3-2.
Left fielder Craig Gentry hit shortstop Jed Lowrie on the fly, and Lowrie made a quick turn and throw to catcher Derek Norris. Norris swiped, but Cabrera appeared to slide under the tag. Home plate umpire Bill Miller called him out. Cabrera beckoned manager John Gibbons to challenge the call, and so the play was reviewed. Replays from various angles seemed rather clear that the tag was never made, but the call was not overturned.
After the game, Bautista called the replay system “a joke” to the media, as the Jays have been victims of the replay system not working as intended several times. Via Sportsnet’s Shi Davidi:
“This whole replay thing has become a joke in my eyes. I think they should just ban it, they should just get rid of it, I don’t really understand the purpose of it, but getting the right call on the field is not the purpose. That’s pretty obvious and evident. I don’t know what kind of agenda the people that are doing the replays are on, what their plan is, what their purpose is, who they’re looking after. But obviously getting the right call on the field is not what they’re doing.”
Here’s the video of the controversial play, which includes multiple replay angles:
Bautista has not yet been reprimanded for his comments, but he likely will have to pay a fine. He certainly is not alone in his feelings on how the replay system has worked thus far.
Fox Sports Detroit has named Matt Shepard their new full-time play-by-play guy for Tigers games. Shepard will work with analysts Jack Morris and Kirk Gibson, who will split time.
This is the move in response to former longtime announcers Mario Impemba and Rod Allen getting suspended and later fired following an in-booth altercation in Chicago last September. The two of them, who weren’t exactly friends, reportedly fought over a chair, with conflicting reports of how serious the fight was. An anonymous witness said Allen put Impemba in a choke hold. Allen recently gave an interview in which he denied that and said it was only some pushing and shoving. Either way, it ended their 16-year team-up for Tigers games.
Shepard has worked for Fox Sports Detroit for nearly 20 years, doing fill-in play-by-play for the Tigers — he replaced Impemba for the last few weeks of last season — and for Detroit Pistons games. Gibson has been a part time analyst for the network for the past couple of seasons, splitting time with Allen. Morris has done Tigers, Blue Jays and Twins games over the years, sometimes even splitting time between the Twins and Tigers, which is rather unusual.
Shepard is pretty good at his job. While Tigers fans liked and were familiar with Impemba, there won’t be a falloff in quality. Gibson makes some good analytical points and has a surprisingly sharp and biting sense of humor about him, but his gruff and monotone delivery is not everyone’s cup of tea. You get used to it. Morris is not my cup of tea — he tends to do a lot of the “back in my day” stuff former players often do — but I’m pretty sure he could recite the dictionary on TV in Detroit and a lot of Tigers fans would tune in. Such is life.