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John Farrell: ‘It’s hard to have any faith in the [replay] system’

04.14.14 at 12:23 am ET
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Red Sox manager John Farrell felt that the replays were inconclusive. His feelings about the replay system are anything but.

On Sunday night, the Red Sox saw a video review go against them for the second straight day. On Saturday, the ruling both on the field and by replay officials — who failed to uphold Farrell’s challenge that Dean Anna had overslid the bag and was thus out — proved an immediate embarrassment when decisive still shots proved that the Yankees shortstop had been out. On Sunday night, the replay ruling – an overrule of a call on the field, with Francisco Cervelli deemed to have beaten out what would have been an inning-ending double play and instead having legged out what proved to be a decisive run-scoring fielder’s choice in New York’s 3-2 win — was less egregious.

Nonetheless, Farrell insisted that the replays did not offer decisive evidence to support the reversal of the on-field call. He said that the ball was in first baseman Mike Napoli‘s glove by the time Cervelli’s foot landed on the bag, and that the Sox had been told that a player need not squeeze the ball with his glove for the out to be called. And given his discomfort with the decisions of the two consecutive games, the Sox manager used the opportunity to unload on the replay system that Major League Baseball has introduced this year.

“We felt that it was clear that the replay was inconclusive,” Farrell told reporters in New York. “The frustrating part is when this was rolled out and explained to us, particularly on the throw received by the first baseman, we were instructed that when the ball enters the glove, not that it has to hit the back of the glove, is where the out is deemed complete. At the same time, any angle that we looked at, you couldn’t tell if the foot was on the bag behind Mike Napoli‘s leg. Where this became conclusive is a hard pill to swallow. On the heels of yesterday, it’s hard to have any faith in the system, to be honest with you.”

Farrell went onto the field to argue the video reversal, prompting his immediate ejection (by rule). The manager admitted that his protest was a reflection of multiple days of dismay.

“I argued the point that it was inconclusive. I know that arguing a challenge play is not allowed, evident by spending most of the game inside. But on the heels of yesterday and today, this is a tough pill to swallow,” Farrell told reporters. “It’s extremely difficult to have any faith in the system, the process that’s being used.

“When you’re talking about something as substantial as replay being brought into the game, there’s going to be a learning curve and everybody becoming familiar with it. You would think that video replay would be conclusive — or there’s plays where it’s not conclusive, which is [Sunday night],” Farrell added. “Unfortunately we’re on the wrong side of it both times. … As much as they’re trying to help the human element inside this system, it seems like it’s added the human element at a different level.”

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