On Monday night the Braves lost 1-0 to the Red Sox. Early in the game, Freddie Freeman was called out at second base. Replays appeared to show Freeman beating the play at second, but the Braves didn’t challenge the call, per the advice of team video coordinator Rob Smith to manager Fredi Gonzalez. After the game Freeman, as well as several anonymous team officials, grumbled about the decision not to challenge.
As Mark Bowman of MLB.com reports today, that no-challenge has motivated the Braves to reexamine how they approach replay. Others have speculated that that decision will be used as an overall basis for making wholesale changes, including the possible firing of Fredi Gonzalez. A scapegoating move to be sure given how bad this team is, but “things just aren’t working and our processes are breaking down” is a better story to tell than “we put a crap roster together on the super cheap because we don’t care about 2016,” at least if you’re in the front office.
Whatever that means for the Braves, this puts me in mind of that story from last week about how the Yankees’ replay guy is considered so good and gives them an advantage. And makes me wonder once again why we’ve decided to make a game out of replay — one challenge and if you’re wrong you lose it! — rather than simply making it another tool in the umpire’s toolbox.