The Rays Tank: Joe Maddon Discovers MLB's Super-Secret Expanded Replay

Patrick Smith

Whoa! We have the technology to review plays other than home runs? I didn't know.

Joe Maddon has become known throughout baseball as an innovator. His latest innovation: expanding instant replay in baseball. MLB does have instant replay to review home runs, but for years fans have wanted more replay. Thanks to Maddon, that is now possible.

On Sunday, Matt Joyce hit a flyball down the right field line that hit off of something before landing back onto the field. The question was going to be what and the possibilities were manifold. It could have hit off the foul pole and been a home run, it could have hit off the top of the wall right in front of the foul pole and been a double, or it could have hit off the wall just to the right of the foul pole and been a foul ball. The umpires ruled it a double after it happened, but Joe Maddon wanted a review. That's where the fun began.

Maddon wanted assurances from the umpires that the play could only be ruled a double even if it was not a home run because only home runs are reviewable, not doubles. Had the play been ruled a home run, Maddon argued, then it could have been ruled a foul ball, but since it was a double, Maddon believed that the only two possibilities were double or home run. The umpires rebuffed him and Maddon was ready to hold the game in protest before Joyce's hit was ruled a home run. On Tuesday, the story continued.

Joe Maddon said that he heard from Andrew Friedman that the umpires were in fact right and home run reviews can be used to review other parts of plays as well. In Maddon's opinion, though, that is a ridiculous rule and opens up "a Pandora's box."

Maddon talked about how Tigers manager Jim Leyland could have asked for a home run review on the play where Jason Donald was incorrectly ruled safe at first base to ruin Armando Galarraga's perfect game so the umpires could overturn the call. Or on Monday, Maddon could have asked for a home run review on Henry Blanco's flyball so he could review the play at second base where Sam Fuld's throw was in time but C.B. Bucknor ruled Blanco safe. Clearly, according to Maddon, baseball's instant replay goes beyond the commonly-known and extends into the nonsensical.

In essence, Maddon said, there already is expanded replay in place. "It already exists, you didn't even know it," he said. "Other things are reviewable. You didn't even know that because once you ask for the home run to be reviewed then everything else is reviewable."

Congratulations, everyone who wanted extended instant replay in baseball. You got it. What, this isn't what you had in mind? In any event, look for Maddon to at least try to exploit this bizarre quirk in the rules when it helps the Rays the most.

If there is one saving grace here, it's that the umpires don't have to grant the manager a review, meaning that had Leyland requested a replay on the Galarraga play, there's no chance that it would have actually happened. But if there is ever a flyball to the outfield that is even slightly close that ends with a blown call at one of the bases, expect Maddon to go out and ask for a replay, and at that point, who knows what will happen.

Here are your links for today:

-Joe Maddon reversed course of the Yunel Escobar gesture saying that Escobar "did nothing wrong" and that he wants him to "remain the way he is."

-Maddon also said that Matt Joyce should be fine following his early departure from Tuesday's game with a left hamstring injury. He wasn't going to start against the lefty Mark Buehrle anyway.

-Within that same piece, the "other" Roberto Hernandez, the closer who is the Rays' franchise leader in saves, will represent the Rays at the MLB Draft. Creative and moderately hilarious move by the Rays.

-Keith Law discussed the 2003 MLB Draft, offering a re-draft and talking about the biggest busts. Delmon Young was surprisingly ruled a bust and Law has the Rays selecting Matt Kemp first overall in the do-ever of that draft.

-Rany Jazayerli and Jonah Keri ranted about the Royals' top prospect ineptitude.

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