Dusty Baker Defends Umpires Amid Calls for Expanded Instant Replay
Does Dusty Baker favor a move to expanded use of replay?
It appears not. One day after two key calls went against his sloppy Reds, who erred far worse than the umpires in losing to the Phillies on Friday, Baker defended the men in blue.
"That's a job I wouldn't want -- because you are only scrutinized when things aren't right," said Baker, whose team has lost both games of the best-of-five series.
Baker jokingly came up with a way to help the umpires.
"The only way to make an improvement is, you've got to get them some slow-mo glasses," he said. "You give them some slow-motion glasses, then they might see the same things that you (sportswriters) see, and the same thing everyone sees on TV.
"It doesn't work like that, so you have to leave the human element in there I believe to some degree. Or else we wouldn't have nothing to talk about."
Blown calls and iffy calls are drawing a lot of media attention in yet another postseason.
Friday in Philadelphia, umpire Bruce Dreckman drew extra scrutiny for ruling that the Phillies' Chase Utley was grazed in the hand by a pitch from Reds reliever Aroldis Chapman. Utley, leading off the seventh inning, later came around to score as part of a three-run flurry that put the Phillies ahead. Utley also appeared to catch a break when he was deemed safe at second base on an attempted forceout.
Utley's comments afterward all but affirmed that he wasn't hit or grazed. Chapman said several times that his pitch didn't hit Utley. Of course, Chapman was nearly 60 feet from Utley when the ball zoomed by him. The pitch was clocked at 100 miles per hour. It's possible that no one really knew what happened, even Dreckman. Replays from different angles were inconclusive.
Maybe the replay advocates would have MLB call NASA in such instances.
"It's a tough play," Baker said. "I couldn't tell myself if he was hit or not. That was a tough play. It's easy after the fact when you have slow motion."
Baker also praised Utley for whirling as if he'd been hit by the pitch, and for running toward first base to help sell the call.
"That's similar to the (Derek) Jeter play I guess," he said of the Yankee star's acting performance against the Rays a month ago. "Heck, I've done that myself. I was in a World Series -- I faked a catch on a short hop. You are going to have to do what you have to do.
"I don't think of it as cheating necessarily."