As Royals manager Ned Yost debated an umpire’s call — or lack thereof — after Tuesday’s game, he acknowledged that he had not yet seen a replay to confirm his suspicion that Reds outfielder Billy Hamilton left the baseline to elude a tag.
A day later, he saw one.
It didn’t change his mind.
Yost still felt Hamilton should’ve been ruled out of the baseline in the 10th inning — meaning he was more than three feet outside of the established path. Instead, he dodged Royals shortstop Alcides Escobar’s tag without consequence, keeping the bases loaded and setting up Joey Votto’s go-ahead, bases-clearing triple. The Reds won 5-1.
When Yost departed the dugout to argue the call with the umpiring crew, he knew the play did not fall under the list of reviewable items. But he thinks it should.
“Replay review would’ve gotten it right,” he said Wednesday. “Your arm length is three-feet long. So once you’re here, you’ve established the base line, and if you go to tag him here and you can’t tag him, he’s out of the baseline. (Hamilton) was still another two or three past that.”
Yost has been a supporter of instant replay since its significant expansion in 2014. The replay rules essentially allow for most clear-cut, black-and-white plays to be put into the review system.
But not much else.
“There’s a lot of them that I think should be added to the list — interference, obstruction, infield fly rule, trap plays in the infield, fair or foul in the infield, foul tip, batter’s interference, batted ball hitting a runner, runner out of the basepath, 45-foot lane violation. All those things,” Yost said. “There’s no reason why they couldn’t. I think we got the technology to be able to review those things.”
The counterpoint is a simple one.
MLB is in the business of trying to shorten its games, and umpires putting on the headsets more often will only prolong them. But Yost argues the most important element is getting the call correct.
Plus, he has a reliable weapon at his disposal to ensure the umpires do get them right ... at least on the allowable plays. Per MLBReplayStats.com, the Royals have the best challenge rate in baseball this season, with 83.3 percent of their challenges overturned after the replay. Bill Duplissea serves as the team’s replay coordinator.
“Look, I couldn’t be an umpire,” Yost said. “Stuff happens fast. You can’t expect to get everything right. You just can’t. This just helps them get it right on those bang-bang plays. It’s hard. It’s hard to see everything. It’s hard to be in position to get everything. (Replay) just helps them do their job.”