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.