Replay Becoming Useless in MLB

L.G. Patterson – Associated Press

Replay was implemented in the MLB because they wanted a way to get the call right if their initial call is wrong. This was a huge deal because for so many years only home runs could go to replay.

Unfortunately, a question keeps appearing: What is the point of having replay if they cannot get the call right?

It seems like each week there are a couple instances where a play that should be overturned is not. After a play today in the game between the Milwaukee Brewers and Cincinnati Reds it seemed like the right time to discuss the shortcoming of replay.

Painful Replay Failures

Jazz Chisholm
D. Ross Cameron – USA TODAY Sports


On Saturday, July 17, the Milwaukee Brewers were in Cincinnati for game two of a three game series. A series of this magnitude between the top two teams in the National League Central requires perfect umpiring.

In the bottom of the second the Reds had one out with Tyler Naquin on first. After a pitch to Eugenio Suarez, Brewers catcher Omar Narvaez threw down to first baseman Jace Peterson who applied the tag on Naquin as he slid back into first.

The first base ump initially called Naquin safe, in disagreement, Peterson immediately signaled he wanted a replay. Manager Craig Counsell agreed and asked for the umps to go to the headsets.

It was an extremely close play at first, yet, when slowed down, it is clear that when Naquin’s lead hand slides off the back of the base his other hand is also off the base. The whole time his hands were on either side of the base Peterson had the tag on him.

This should have been an out, instead the replay officials in New York decided that the call of safe stands. Due to that incorrect call and some poor umpiring behind the plate the Reds would then add two runs before Brandon Woodruff could get out of the inning.

The Brewers went on to the win the game 7-4 in 11 innings, but if this call had been corrected the game would have been completely different.


In early July the Miami Marlins had a tough four game series against the Los Angeles Dodgers. On July 6, the two teams were battling it out in a pitchers duel.

In the bottom of the seventh inning it was tied at one. The Marlins had two outs with Jazz Chisholm at first base. On a 1-0 pitch Chisholm attempted to steal second. Dodgers catch Will Smith threw down to second where Chris Taylor applied the tag. The second base umpire called him out, Chisholm actively requested a replay review.

When looking at all of the angles it is clear that Taylor initially tags the dirt as Chisholm slides into second. He is not tagged until after safely hitting second with his hand.

Instead of two outs and a runner at second the call was upheld resulting in the end of the inning.

The Marlins went on to win via a walk off arrant throw by Will Smith, but in a game this close the umpires need to get the call correct.

Moving Forward

Craig Counsell
Jeffrey Phelps – AP Photo

These two examples from the Brewers and Marlins are just the very tip of the ice berg. This ice berg has grown to a size that is impossible to ignore and if the MLB does not act soon this ship will have major issues.

There is speculation that with all of the angles the replay officials have they are overthinking their job. This makes them think they are seeing thing that are not actually there.

That is a possibility. Or maybe they are just trying to protect the integrity of the already scrutinized umpiring crews throughout baseball.

Initially it was a major revelation when it was officially implemented in 2009. Now in its 13th season it’s reliability has dropped to an all-time low. It seems like they are trying to find any way possible to not overturn the calls.

Is instant replay flawed? Absolutely.

Do the higher ups needs to have a discussion about how to make it better? Absolutely.

Should instant replay continue to be utilized? Maybe.

When the system created to get big calls correct is flawed it causes a lot of problems. Rob Manfred and the rest of MLB need to figure out some way to get instant replay back to a reliable status.

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