(BaseballStL) – Cardinals manager Mike Matheny has been quite vocal about how instant replay has gone for his team – it hasn’t helped them much.
Which included Friday night’s game against the Milwaukee Brewers. On a force play at second base, the umpire ruled the runner was safe. A review was initiated by Matheny, but the call stood. Instead of one out and a runner on, the Brewers had two runners on and no one out and they eventually scored four runs in the inning.
“I do believe in the process,” Matheny said Saturday, “I believe the process is moving us forward. My whole problem last night is we’ve had a couple of reviews that didn’t go the way we saw them. How do you voice your opinion in a game changing situation?”
The review process has done away with crazy arguments between managers and umpires. There are few that happen, but mostly when challenges don’t go the way of a certain team.
Recently, Miami Marlins’ manager Mike Redmond was tossed from the game after a play at the plate. Giancarlo Stanton threw a bullet home that beat Zach Cozart by a couple of steps to keep the Marlins in the lead 1-0. But the Reds challenged, saying the Marlins catcher didn’t provide a lane for the runner. After a six minute review, the play was overturned and the runner called safe. Redmond went berserk and the Reds went on to score two more runs.
Matheny was also ejected from Friday night’s game, although without the pomp and circumstance of Redmond. Matheny said it’s not about screaming at the umpires, but about his team.
“These guys in here feed off what we as a staff do,” he said, “If they don’t believe we’re fighting for them, if they don’t believe we’re defending them – that somehow they’re getting slighted – then we’re going to lose this bench or this clubhouse. I don’t know of another way to do it.
“The league was very clear early on this isn’t going to be perfect. This is going to be a work in progress. Altogether, I believe it’s good, even though it hasn’t been good for us.”
The Cardinals rank down at the bottom of the league in the number of challenges they have initiated. The Chicago Cubs lead with 37 while the Tampa Bay Rays aren’t far behind with 34.
“I think we’re being asked to take our emotion and frustration and just shelf it,” Matheny continued, “I never heard that part when we started talking about the review process. This is a pilot season. We’re feeling it out as we go.”
Matheny even went as far as to make a joke about the actual process of challenging a play.
“After we got used to the mechanics of it, the awkwardness of two guys standing there looking at a guy in the dugout,” Matheny joked, “It’s extremely cordial. Every time I feel like I should bring some tea when I go out. ‘What did you see there?’ ‘I don’t know? Let’s go ask the other guy.’ It’s bizarre.”
So, yes, it seems replay has deterred the epic meltdowns, similar to Braves’ minor league manager Phil Wellman’s crazy display. However, despite Matheny’s favorable review of the replay system, he still supports his right to defend his players.
“I believe these guys need to see me have life,” he said, “They need to see me have fire and fight.”