Can Major League Baseball’s new instant replay system stretch baseball games even longer?
“I don’t think it will extend the game,” believes Minnesota Twins Manager Ron Gardenhire, who briefly talked about instant replay to the MSR before the club left for spring training in February. The Twins’ 2014 season began earlier this week in Chicago.
Among the new instant replay protocols, managers have at least one challenge of an umpire’s call each game up to the beginning of the seventh inning. If the challenged play is overturned, the manager gets to keep their challenge but gets no more than two challenges per game.
The types of plays that are subject to review include home runs, ground rule doubles, fan interference, batter hit by pitch, and timing plays (whether a runner scores before a third out). “One of the beauties of this is that we will be able to put this up on the big screen in the stadium so people can watch and know what’s going on,” added Twins GM Terry Ryan.
“They [the umpires] are trying to get everything right and do the right thing. We are trying to fix the game and make sure we get all the calls right,” stated Gardenhire. “It is a step in the right direction.”
State of the Twins
During his pre-spring training “State of the Twins” speech to local reporters, including the MSR in January, Ryan endorsed Joe Mauer’s move from catcher to first base this season. “I think it will go seamless,” said the GM.
However, did Minnesota finally improve its starting pitching rotation, which was plain awful last season? “We need innings” from the starters, responded Ryan to the question. “We need starts. We need deeper games. We got to get better in our rotation [or] we do not stand a chance.”
The MSR afterwards asked Ryan about the end-of-year speculation on Gardenhire’s job status. “I heard all the things people said… There are people who love Gardy, and there are people who might have said why don’t we make a change. Until I get the job done for him, I have to look in the mirror and say, ‘Who’s responsible? I’m the general manager.’
“I got to get him better players, specifically pitchers. There’s no way I am going to make a move unless I take full responsibility, and I am taking full responsibility,” said the Twins GM.
“I’m glad to be back,” concluded Gardenhire. “It’s the right place for me.”
Jackie Robinson honored
The Twins, along with the rest of Major League Baseball, honors Jackie Robinson April 15.
Baseball, however, doesn’t look that much different than when he played back in the late 1940s — other than Latin-born players, the game is virtually all White.
Aaron Hicks is the only U.S.-born Black player on the Twins, and it was the same last year until he was sent down to the minors. And the team’s front office and coaching staff still lack color as well.
“You’re right about that,” admits Ryan. “We don’t have a lot of diversity on our major league staff — we do in the minor leagues. We lack diversity on every club.
“It’s a concern with the commissioner and everybody else involved with the game. It’s something we are aware of and sensitive to, and we got to do a better job.”
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