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Controversial replay review overturns JaCoby Jones walk-off winner

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Presumably, maybe, MLB got it right, but it’s hard to stomach when it takes that long.

MLB: Pittsburgh Pirates at Detroit Tigers Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Well, the season took an extra 24 hours to start, and then it looked like the Tigers’ Opening Day matchup against the Pittsburgh Pirates would never end. However, there was a brief glimmer of joy in the 10th inning, when it looked as though JaCoby Jones had walked off the Pirates with an RBI single to score Nicholas Castellanos. Sadly, after a truly interminable replay review the call of safe at home was overturned. Welcome to your 2018 Tigers.

In the end, we all want the umpires to get calls right. That’s the whole point. But wow is it hard for fans to swallow the idea of clear evidence to overturn when it takes that long. The replay officials took at least four minutes to make the call. In the meantime, the Tigers were mobbing Jones and Castellanos and celebrating. The Pirates were already packing up and heading to their clubhouse. And then, it was game on once again.

The situation was two outs, bottom of the tenth after a seesaw battle all afternoon. Castellanos was on second after reaching first on a fielder’s choice, and then taking second on a passed ball. In a 3-2 count, JaCoby Jones took a Jeff Smoker changeup off the outer edge of the plate and served a line drive into left field. As Castellanos raced around third, left fielder Corey Dickerson uncorked a pretty unimpressive throw up the line. Catcher Francisco Cervelli had to step into foul territory to corral it, as Castellanos changed direction back inside to get to the plate. He didn’t get inside quite enough and didn’t get his legs extended, probably because he had to step left around Cervelli and then square to the plate again. Someone teach him the hookslide please!

Castellanos was immediately called safe by the home plate umpire, but there was never a doubt that the call would require review. A conclusive view of the tag play never appeared on the broadcast, and so it was easy to argue with the decision to overturn it. In the end, however, one would assume that the replay officials saw a view that didn’t appear on the broadcast. Probably they got the call right, but the circumstances, on a walk-off hit, were incredibly frustrating.

The issue, is that it took 4-5 minutes to overturn the call. It was as though a Lions game had broken out. Conclusive evidence is required to overturn a call on the field. Typically, one would think that after 2-3 minutes, a conclusive view just wasn’t forthcoming. Ron Gardenhire was predictably less than thrilled, and got himself tossed, though I’m not sure who he was arguing with since the line to MLB’s replay offices had long since been cut. Just had to be done, I suppose. We propose a possible re-enactment here.

It’s somewhat ironic that after another offseason filled with Commissioner Rob Manfred’s bizarre schemes to trim game times in every way possible, a replay review can then stretch out interminably. The Tigers would go on to lose in 13 innings, and a lot of very loyal Tigers fans who hung in to the end went home disappointed with the way this rollercoaster ride ended.