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MLB Replay Review Regulations

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On 6/20/15, Red Sox C Swihart was out at 2 on CS. The call was that the tag was applied before Swihart touched the base. Red Sox challenged. The replay showed Swihart beat the tag. However, the replay also showed that subsequent to the pop-up slide by Swihart, his momentum took him off the base while the tag was still applied. After a lengthy Replay Review, the call on the field was confirmed. The crew chief went over to Red Sox manager Farrell and explained why - Swihart did beat the tag, but the call on the field stood anyway, since he subsequently came off the base while the tag was still applied. 

Here's the play: http://m.mlb.com/video/topic/63817564/v178877383/boskc-perez-nabbing-swihart-confirmed-by-review

Questions:

Q1) From "Major League Baseball Replay Review Regulations" the following is stated: "Specificity of the Challenge. When invoking a Manager's Challenge or otherwise requesting a Crew Chief review, it is the Manager's responsibility to ensure that the Umpire knows the specific calls for which he is seeking Replay Review, but the Manager need not state the reason for his belief that the call was incorrect. (For example, in order to challenge an "out" call on a force play at first base, the Manager need not state that the throw pulled the fielder off the bag, the runner reached first base before the ball was caught, etc.) Moreover, the Replay Official shall have no authority to review any calls other than those included in a Manager's Challenge or those accepted for review by the Crew Chief." Does this imply that a Manager CAN specify the reason for his belief that the call was incorrect, and in this case if Farrell had done so (by indicating he was challenging specifically the ruling on the field that the tag beat Swihart to the base), does that mean the Replay Official could not review whether Swihart's left the bag after the slide, and the Red Sox would have won the challenge? (The Royals could have then challenged what happened after the slide, but at a minimum the Red Sox would have retained their challenge.)

Q2) After the pop-up slide, Swihart's momentum took his hands and body onto the back of the crouched-over infielder, and his foot left the bag while the tag was still applied. It looks like Swihart saw the out call begin to be made while his foot was still on the bag. His hands were on the infielder's back at the time. Swihart relaxed the force of his contact with the infielder, and let his momentum take him off the base. It could have been argued that if Swihart saw that he was ruled safe rather than out, he would have stopped his momentum and kept his foot on the base. When the Crew Chief went over to Farrell to explain why the ruling on the field stood, could Farrell have argued that? If he made that argument, could there have been another review? 

Q3) A more generic question, using this play as an example. As I said in Q2, if Swihart saw that he was ruled safe rather than out, it could be argued that he would have stopped his momentum and remained on the base. His hands were already on the crouched-over infielders back. Could Swihart have used the infielder's back as leverage to keep him foot on the bag, e.g. rather than relax his arms and allow his body to carry forward (and off the base), could he have applied subtle additional force to the back of the infielder to remain on the base?

Q4) Another generic question: In a case such as this, can a Replay Official rule on the "intent" of a player, in the event that the player may have acted differently if the call on the field was different? In the example of Swihart, could he rule based on what he thought would happen subsequent to the slide if the ruling on the field was correct - and Swihart believed he was called safe rather than called out?

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Instant replay is what it is. In this case I see a call made to quickly. The play wasn't over yet.

he was safe called out because umpire saw a tag not because he came off the base.

 

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Instant replay is what it is. In this case I see a call made to quickly. The play wasn't over yet.

he was safe called out because umpire saw a tag not because he came off the base.

 

​True, he was originally called out because the umpire saw a tag prior to the runner touching the base. However, multiple replays clearly show the tag came after the base was touched. The review took close to 5 minutes because the replay official was looking at what happened after the slide. The runner was then ruled out not because of the initial tag, but because he subsequently came off the base while the tag was still applied. So the call on the field was not reversed, but it was not reversed due to what happened after the runner reached the base, not before. That's why the crew chief specifically went over to Farrell to explain. And that's the reason for my questions.

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There is a lot to wrap my head around in your question; and there are more qualified people to answer than me. I will however weigh in.

First, @JaxRolo has a great point. The call was made too quick. Had the ump allowed the play to continue, there would be no challenge to the out call. But it seems you are asking two different things. Q1 Does the Replay Official only look at the challenged call. Q2 Would the runners actions be different had the original call been different.

I'll answer Q2 first because I think it's the easiest. We can not judge what was in the players mind. By watching the video, I do not see Swihart's momentum being any thing other than what occurred. His pop up slide took him off the base. I don't see him relaxing after learning the out call. In fact he remains on the bag and looks into the dugout to ask for a challenge. I don't understand why; he should have known that he came off the bag. Unless he thinks the original out call was wrong so he gets a free pass after anything that happens after that? No one would buy that. The ball remains live, period. So even if he thinks he beat the tag (which he did) he is still out because he came off the bag.

I think this answers Q1. IF Farrell had asked the review to only determine whether Swihart had beat the tag, do you think the officials would have allowed him to remain on base in spite of the fact he came off the bag after the slide? I don't think so. Now we have to ask did Farrell see Swihart come off the bag after the slide? If he had, I believe there would be no challenge.

As to question Q3 & Q4. Again I don't see anything that tells me Swihart's actions after the slide/call would be any different, therefore in my opinion he's out because he came off the bag. And No, I don't think the replay official can or should review on what the intent of the player may or may not have been.

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IR review is intended to get the call right. They review the play to get the call right, not just the parts of the play that the manager wants looked at.

Check out the play in this thread.  Manager wanted to review an out. Though the manager's argument was correct, the runner was not tagged when he overslid the base as the umpire ruled...runner was IR reviewed out because he was tagged out initially (that the umpire missed) and the out call stood. 

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