MLB Should Extend Replay Review Time During Postseason

Lonnie Chisenhall

Alex Evans, Opinions Editor

Joe Girardi’s decision not to challenge what appeared to be an obvious hit-by-pitch over instant replay Friday night at Progressive Field in Cleveland ended up costing the Yankees a win and a possible 2-1 series lead in the American League Division Series.

The original call on the field was that Yankees relief pitcher, Chad Green hit Lonnie Chisenhall of the Cleveland Indians, in the hand with a fastball, loading the bases for an eventual grand slam from Fransisco Lindor in the bottom of the sixth inning.

Among the many excuses Girardi gave in his postgame press conference following an 8-7 defeat was that the Yankees’ replay reviewers didn’t see the super-slow motion video, clearly showing Green’s pitch hitting the knob of Chisenhall’s bat, in the 30 seconds that Major League Baseball gives managers to challenge a call.

The Yankees were able to defy the odds and win three consecutive games to take the series, but that doesn’t excuse the fact that the replay system in baseball is flawed.

In a playoff game, one pitch can mean the difference between a win and a loss, and that was certainly the case here. If Girardi had an extra 30 seconds, there’s little doubt that he would have been told to challenge the call.

If the call was overturned, Chisenhall would have struck out since Gary Sanchez caught the deflected ball with two strikes in the count. Lindor wouldn’t have even gotten a chance to hit with the bases loaded preserving a comfortable 8-3 Yankees lead.

Why is it then that MLB has a time limit on challenges during the playoffs? Whether a team decides to have a play reviewed or not can be the difference between wins and loses, and the 30-second time limit hurt the Yankees. That’s why MLB needs to extend the time a manager has to decide whether or not they want to challenge a controversial call.

MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred has been trying to increase the pace of play in baseball in order to draw in younger fans since his tenure began in 2015. Replay harms this goal to begin with, and putting a time limit on a season-defining decision doesn’t speed up the game all that much.

Will a game go that much longer if managers get more time to decide whether to challenge a call or not? An extra 30 seconds wouldn’t make a huge difference at all and wouldn’t alienate true fans of the sport. Playoff games are already longer than most regular season games, and giving a team such a short amount of time to make a game-changing choice just for the sake of attracting a bigger audience is unfair.

Here’s my solution: Extend the decision period to one minute, but only in the postseason.

The games are just of too high of magnitude to be left up to whether or not the TV production crews can provide proper replay video in time. With extra time to do so, replay reviewers working for all teams should be able to see all replay angles and advise their managers on whether to challenge the call on the field with the utmost confidence.

Fortunately for the Yankees, they were able to rattle off three straight wins against the Indians, saving Girardi from a dark mark on what has otherwise been a prosperous decade in the Bronx.