BOSTON - By Tuesday afternoon, the Red Sox had had time to calm down – mostly -- after their infuriating and frustrating loss to the Rays at Fenway Park on Monday, when Daniel Nava was called out at the plate with what would have been the tying run, instead ending the eighth inning.
Home plate umpire Jerry Meals acknowledged his mistake after the game, helping to quell the team’s ire.
“Appreciate him stating what transpired afterward,” said manager John Farrell. “It’s the human element inside the game and given the last couple years where umpires have become more exposed to questioning after the game, appreciate him saying what he did. Doesn’t change the outcome, obviously. And maybe it furthers the debate on including more video replay.
“I’ve always felt that the advances in technology, how it’s come into the game, there’s no reason to think that it can’t be used to a greater extent without prolonging the time of the game, particularly on plays that are not continuing plays. That’s a definitive play. It’s either out or safe. There’s really no other continuance on a play such as a catch in a gap with multiple men on with less than two outs. That kind of play. In cases like last night I think it furthers the debate.”
After the game, Rays manager Joe Maddon said he would be in favor or more replay while Nava said he would not, appreciating the human element of the game.
“I know it’s an ongoing conversation with the commissioner’s office and all those with the field committee,” Farrell said. “How it's ultimately implemented, that’s the biggest challenge I think in all this. And I know that there’s a lot of sensitivity to the overall time of game and not to slow things down. But in situations like last night, I think the most important thing and the overriding thing, is just to make sure the plays are called as they should be.”
Farrell said he would be in favor of managers having a limit to the number of challenges they can invoke during a game, even if it was just one.
“I’d vote definitely for it,” he said.
Some have proposed adding a fifth member to each umpiring crew, a kind of ‘eye in the sky’ who would watch the game from the press box or somewhere above the field.
“It could be one guy in new York that covers every game,” Farrell suggested.
Asked if he thought umpires should be held more accountable, Farrell replied:
“I don’t know that I can fully comment on that because there are probably things that take place internally that we’re unaware of. So I’m sure every effort is being made by Joe Torre [MLB’s executive vice president of baseball operations], the commissioner [Bud Selig], Peter Woodfork [senior vice president of baseball operations], all those who oversee the umpires to do what’s right. And I’m sure every measure is in place. But to their credit they’re not going to make every situation public.”