Gibbons, Jays make replay history

* A bit of history took place Monday afternoon at Hammond Stadium, as Blue Jays manager John Gibbons tapped into the new replay rules, challenging a couple of calls at first base. .... 2014 Canadians in College Letters of Intent 2014 Canadian draft list 2013 Canadians in the Minors  2015 Canadian draft list


By Bob Elliott

FORT MYERS -- As part of history, it likely ranked up with Greg Myers reaching base in 18 consecutive games.

History is history, and Hammond Stadium was the place to be to see it Monday afternoon.

Besides the crowd of 6,688 and five umpires -- one rotated from the field to a FOX North satellite truck -- the Minnesota Twins and the Blue Jays saw it unfold.

Along with hitting 1-for-3 with runners in scoring position, their pitchers walking more than they fanned (8-to-7), the Jays were 0-for-2 challenging calls as the new replay era began.

Twins right fielder Chris Rahl bounced a routine grounder to shortstop Munenori Kawasaki, who threw high to first. Jared Goedert leapt, caught the ball and came down touching the bag as Rahl reached. First-base ump Fieldin Culbreth signalled safe.

“You want it, you got it,” screamed a voice from the Jays dugout, as manager John Gibbons came out to challenge.

It took 2 1/2 minutes for umps to review with replay ump Brian O’Nora.

“It wasn’t too long of a wait,” said reliever Kyle Drabek, who stood on the mound, surrounded by infielders watching history as Culbreth headed to the dugout, put on a head set and then signalled that the call stood.

“I was about to tell A.J. (catcher Jimenez) to go behind the plate, so I could throw again, then the umps were ready.”

And two innings later, ump Will Little ruled Twins Doug Bernier safe on a grounder hit to Jays shortstop Kevin Nolan. After a review that lasted two minutes and three seconds, that play was upheld.

“You’re oh-for-two,” Gibbons said to Ryan Mittleman, the Jays' co-ordinator of video.

“No, you were oh-for-oh,” Mittleman said. “There were three angles here, about half of what there will be in a major-league stadium.

“There are three calls an umpire can make: confirm, stand and overturned.”

Confirmed means that the call is ruled 100% correct, stands means that there wasn’t enough conclusive evidence to overturn it, and overturned means there was conclusive evidence to change the call.

During the regular season, challenges will be watched at Major League Baseball Advanced Media’s office in New York.

“John came out, basically, he told me, 'I’m not too sure that you’re not right here, but since we haven’t done it before, let’s go take a look.'” Culbreth told pool reporter Jayson Stark of ESPN. “I said, 'OK. That’s what it’s for.'”

When the video technician brought up the replay, O’Nora saw two angles in the truck.

“She brought up the first, you could not tell, it was all blurry,” said O’Nora. “On the second angle, (it showed) the back of the first baseman. You could see he was in the air, and when he was coming down he wasn’t on the base and then, when I could definitely tell he was on, the Twins runner’s foot was already on it.”

Call confirmed.

History made.

“On only a couple of angles that I got,” said Culbreth, who had rotated into the truck for the second. “I had the play standing because I couldn’t confirm that it was 100%. But definitely, at the same time, it was not conclusive enough to overturn. The play stands.”

Culbreth said “once we have nine or 10 angles, and quality feeds, that time will really tighten up, everything will be so much quicker we can make that determination clearer.”