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Umpire’s blown call brings back interest in expanded use of replay

By Sheldon Ocker, Akron Beacon Journal –

NEW YORK — Umpire Mike DiMuro’s blown call during the Indians’ 6-4 loss Tuesday night again raised the issue of expanding the role of replay.

New York Yankees left fielder Dewayne Wise tumbled into the grandstand in short left field going after a ball hit by Jack Hannahan. Without hesitation, DiMuro gave the out signal, even though replays clearly showed that Wise never had the ball.

DiMuro’s mistake wasn’t solely that he got it wrong; he also never asked Wise to show him the ball.

Nevertheless hundreds of thousands of fans in New York and Northeast Ohio knew the ump missed the call, and that Wise had gotten away with something.

Fans and Major League Baseball officials who dislike the idea of enlarging the function of TV replays will point to the fact that there would have been no controversy had DiMuro demanded that Wise display the ball in his glove. But umpires can make more than one kind of mistake; DiMuro made two, and a television replay would have fixed them both.

“I think it’s in the works, that the role of replay is probably going to be expanded,” Indians manager Manny Acta said Wednesday. “I think it would be helpful for everybody. The play last night was impossible to determine (by onlookers like himself). In every new stadium, we can’t see the left-field line from the dugout.”

But Acta does not advocate using replay in all situations. Like most of his lodge brothers employed in the game, he would not want umpires second guessed by electronic devices on ball and strike calls, for example.

“For me, it’s a fine line that I don’t want to cross,” he said. “I don’t want to take the human element out of the game completely. But on catches or no catches, plays down the line — I think you need to use replay for that.”

When Hannahan told DiMuro he had seen the ump’s mistake on replay, it got him thrown out of the game.

“You are not supposed to mention replays to the umpire,” Acta said. “That’s an automatic ejection.”

Acta couldn’t have saved Hannahan, because he was discussing the situation with home-plate umpire Jim Reynolds.

“He said to me, ‘You better go over there, because you’re player is getting thrown out,’” Acta explained.

Acta is willing to accept inevitable mistakes by umpires rather than have the game arbitrated totally by some electronic device.

“If you’re going to use replay for everything,” he said, “just go and grab four guys out of the stands.”

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