Well O’s fans, it is yet another day without a player signing. Something I have found myself doing over this offseason is checking several key websites and Twitter feeds right before pushing the “publish” button on a Baltimore Orioles post.
It sort of reminds me of the advice given to a local TV weatherman – the last thing you should do before going on the air is to open the window and look outside! But, being an Orioles writer/reporter/analyst is a little bit like being a weatherman in Southern California and waiting for the rain to arrive.
My plan today was to talk a little bit more about some Buck Showalter quotes from FanFest this past Saturday, particularly on the issue of challenging umpires’ calls with instant replay. MASN writer Roch Kubatko did a section on this subject in his column yesterday, featuring an extended interview with bench coach John Russell.
Certainly this new rule going to be a system that will go through various stages and revisions. MLB Instant Replay Version 1.0 is not going to be the final product.
Russell talked about the Orioles’ system used in the past where Buck depended a lot on Russell for an objective take on a questionable call – though honestly, there was never much of a high percentage chance to have something reversed.
But Russell seemed to add more confusion than what I thought existed about how this is going to work. He said, “I really don’t know how that’s going to work … Do you have somebody you can get a hold of real quickly? Are they going to have to sit down by the dugout so you can ask real quickly? Are you going to have to run upstairs every time and try to look at a call before they go review it? I don’t know. It’s going to be tough.”
Though I’m sure there are details to work out, it does not seem to me that there is going to be “running upstairs” to deal with.
Here is how it was written in the release from MLB last month, “To determine whether to challenge a play, personnel in the dugout will be permitted to communicate with a video specialist in the Clubhouse who has access to the same video that is available to Replay Officials. This communication will occur via the dugout phone. Both the home and visiting Clubs will have standardized technology to ensure each Club has equal access to all video. No monitors or additional electronic equipment will be permitted in the dugout.” That seems pretty clear to me, though of course a system will need to be developed by the team as to the most efficient way to do that with their own personnel.
Beyond that, replays will now be allowed on the stadium display for all to see. And again, here is what the release said about that, “Clubs will now have the right to show replays of all close plays on its ballpark scoreboard, regardless of whether the play is reviewed.”
But here is the Showalter quote that particularly caught my ear. After praising the decision to allow a replay system that gives the stadium fan the same viewing experience as those at home, he said, “I’m going to listen to y’all if I should go out there and challenge it.”
Can you imagine this? Picture a close call that goes against the Birds, and then the replay adds to the hometown crowd conviction that the umpires blew it. And next we’ll hear the chanting of “Go Buck go! Go Buck go!” And then out of the dugout will come the orange jacket-clad Showalter to the spontaneous uproar of the crowd. It is almost a scene right out of the movie “Gladiator.” Maximus Decimus Showalter!