Leave it to Pirates first baseman Travis Ishikawa to find a different viewpoint to the newly-implemented replay system in Major League Baseball.
From where he stands, perhaps this will lead to a kinder, gentler game. Oh yes, cats and dogs, Hatfields and McCoys — they just might get along now.
“I think it’s going to help the relationship with the players and the umpires and the managers and the umpires,” Ishikawa said before Wednesday’s game with the Cubs. “Because there’s nothing to argue after they’ve seen the replay.”
Interesting take, huh?
And perhaps an offshoot not many took into account would happen when the 30 clubs in Major League Baseball unanimously approved the expansion of replay back in January and took force when games got started earlier this week.
Take for example what happened — with Ishikawa smack dab in the vortex — on Monday as the easiest example to illustrate his point.
In the top of the 10th inning, Chicago’s Emilio Bonifacio singled and, thereafter, tested reliever Bryan Morris with a healthy lead off of first. Morris threw over for a bang-bang play as Ishikawa quickly tagged him.
First base umpire Bob Davidson called Bonifacio safe as the patrons seated down the first base side erupted.
A few moments later, Pirates manager Clint Hurdle climbed from the dugout, calmly approached Davidson and asked for a replay. The replay — also shown on the big board at PNC Park — showed that Ishikawa had tagged the runner in time and the call was reversed, wiping Bonifacio off the bases.
The delay lasted less than three minutes.
“I’ve definitely seen arguments with the umpires and the manager last a lot longer,” Ishikawa said.
Therein lies the second prong to this. Take for example what could have happened under the old system, before replay was expanded.
With the would-be go-ahead run involved in such a close play not going the Pirates’ way in the 10th inning, Hurdle might have jogged out there, tossed his gum aside to the turf before giving Davidson an earful. Davidson, an old-school crusty umpire would have most likely jawed right back at Hurdle, forcing a standoff that could have ended with an ejection and a delay beyond what happened with the replay.
Oh, and the most important point —- under the old system the “safe” call would have stood, with Bonifacio permitted to continue on as a baserunner on a call that was erroneously made.
Pushing it forward, it could have forced a divide between Davidson and Hurdle lasting the rest of the series or, well, even longer.
Look, as replay was bandied about and talked about being introduced to this grand game, I initially was steadfastly against it. But after seeing what happened during Monday’s Home Opener, and the expeditious nature with which it was used, I’m still not fully sold — but I like it a lot more than I thought.
As for Ishikawa?
“Obviously, right now, I’m a huge fan of it,” he said of replay. “But it will be interesting when you ask me that question after we have a play like that and we are on the opposite end. But I think it is important that the right call be made.”
Certainly, that’s the most important thing to all of this. But you know what? This new replay system might just allow for everyone on that field to get along better.
Who would have thought that?
Colin Dunlap is a featured columnist at CBSPittsburgh.com. He can also be heard weeknights from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Sports Radio 93-7 “The Fan.” You can e-mail him at email@example.com. Check out his bio here.