By Ashley Dunkak
COMERICA PARK (CBS DETROIT) – As it became evident that Major League Baseball would expand instant replay in 2014, Detroit Tigers right fielder Torii Hunter hoped the change would not curtail manager arguments.
“I hope not because that’s boring!” Hunter said in August. “That is so boring. I hope not because the arguments of Lou Piniella and all those guys, that’s what I want to see … I can only imagine the fans. They come and they see the arguments and they see guys kicking dirt and going crazy. That’s awesome, man. That’s baseball. Hopefully that doesn’t change.”
For years, calls could almost never be changed, so often a manager would go after an umpire just to blow off steam about the missed call and show his players that he had their back. With the implementation of instant replay, managers can simply challenge a call, and it will be reviewed by Major League Baseball. If incorrect, the call will be overturned.
Strikes and balls cannot be reviewed, but for almost every other situation, managers have an alternative to yelling at umpires. As a result, while the system should help teams avoid getting the shaft because of missed calls, it could also eliminate the need for managers to throw a fit, which most would agree is a quite entertaining spectacle.
Last August, the veteran Hunter expressed his hope that managers would not give up their arguments. For many, it would be a bummer if classic rants like those of former Tigers manager Jim Leyland and Earl Weaver (warning: this one is NSFW) disappeared from the landscape of baseball.
For new Detroit Tigers manager Brad Ausmus, however, the new system might have exactly that effect.
“As a player, there were times where I was an Earl Weaver,” Ausmus said before Opening Day. “I’m guessing at times I’ll probably do that occasionally. With the instant replay it’s a little bit awkward in the sense that you’re really just trying to kill some time while your instant replay coordinator, Matt Martin for us, is trying to figure out whether we should challenge it or not, so I may be blatantly honest and just tell the umpire, ‘I’m just killing time,’ and just stand there.”