Last Thursday, Major League Baseball and the owners unanimously voted to expand instant replay. Managers now have challenges that they can use to have many different situations reviewed. These reviewable plays include: home runs, boundary calls, touching a play, force plays, hit by pitch, and a few others.
Bud Selig is excited and believes, "the fans will love it," and "It’s another in a long list of changes that will make this sport better than it already is."
It made me think of plays during recent postseason’s past for the Yankees specifically that could have changed the course of the team’s postseason fortune.
The first play that I thought of immediately was the Jeffery Maier fan interference play in the 1996 ALCS vs. Baltimore. Derek Jeter hit a fly ball to right field and Tony Tarasco barely leaped at the wall only to find that a fan’s glove was already there to make the catch.
Here is the play: http://m.mlb.com/video/v3345251/bb-moments-96-alcs-gm-1-fan-helps-jeters-hr/?query=jeffery+maier
Would that have been changed by expanded replay? Here is a better question did the Yankees benefit by that fan? The answer is a resounding yes.
During the 2009 Championship run the Yankees had two other incidents that went their way in route to the title.
The first was in Game 2 of the ALDS against the Twins when Joe Mauer hit a fly ball down the left field line. It looked like Melky Cabrera had a beat on it, but he missed the ball and it was called foul.
When the replay was shown on television it was clear the ball hit his glove in fair territory and then landed fair. It ended up keeping the scored tied and then Mark Teixeira sent everyone home happy in the bottom half of that inning.
Take a look at the play:http://m.mlb.com/video/v7034063/minnyy-gm-2-ump-rules-mauers-hit-a-foul-ball
In that year’s ALCS the Yankees played the Angels in an important game four with the Yankees up 2 games to 1 in the series and already up 5-0 in the game.
You be the judge: http://m.mlb.com/video/v7078739/alcs-gm-4-yanks-catch-a-break-on-controversial-play
This play occurred at third base and did not have much of an impact in the game, but would have been reversed by replay and could have given the Angels some momentum.
Jorge Posada was in a run down between third and home and while that was happing Robinson Cano had the bright idea to take third in case Posada was tagged out. He was tagged right by third base by fellow catcher, Mike Napoli. Cano, though forgot to tag third and was tagged out as well before he touched the base.
Umpire Tim McClellan did not see it that way and called Cano safe while Posada was still out. Though the Yankees may have won the game 10-1, which allowed them to put a stranglehold on the series, the missed call kept things in the Bombers favor.
Take a look: http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20121012&content_id=39755370&c_id=mlb
The Yankees were up 1-0 and McLouth hit a high fly ball to right and it looked like it was a foul ball. On video review there angles that showed that it might have nicked the foul pole, but the video evidence was inconclusive and was ruled foul. The Yankees went on to the win the series.
Any team that makes a postseason run to the World Series has had some breaks along the way and the Yankees are no exception, but now with the expanded replay it is hard to see how teams will be able to use the human error that comes with umpiring to their advantage.