Andrew McCutchen opined that instant replay reviews for certain stolen base attempts are downright silly.
You’re literally putting impossible standards on a runner trying to steal a base. If momentum takes your hand past the base but you are safe prior to the tag, you should only be called out if you slide completely past the base and the tag is applied.— andrew mccutchen (@TheCUTCH22) October 14, 2018
SB Nation’s Yankees site, Pinstripe Alley, wrote a whole piece on this and what replay has meant for the stolen base in today’s game. I liked the exchange McCutchen had with the fan who bravely @’d him to tell him he’s wrong:
you can still pop off the bag sliding feet first(slipped on the base/cleat got stuck in dirt etc). Ive done that a handful of times before replay was implemented and was called safe. If there was replay Id be out.— andrew mccutchen (@TheCUTCH22) October 14, 2018
It’s fair to say that “better living through technology” has its drawbacks, just as living without technology has its own. We want robot umpires because we want fairness — we want to incontrovertible replay review too because we want to reduce uncertainty in the game. That’s the whole point of technology — reduce uncertainty, reduce work.
MLB replay has mostly stunk, but I also get that these new systems take time to get right. McCutchen’s not wrong, but it’s a shame the only response he’ll get is, “Tough luck — play better baseball.” Athletes and organizations have tended to respond to advanced technology either through shifting or sequencing with reducing the game down to a three true outcomes scenario. If the stolen base comes down to millimeters, then we know teams will simply abandon it altogether.
Maybe, eventually, before we’re all dead, we’ll get to see things like hitting the ball the other way and the stolen base, once players simply adjust to the league’s adjustments, but until that time, as great as the game is, there’s some obnoxious things about the advancements, and I’m forced to agree with McCutchen in this particular instance.
The closest the lot of us can probably get to understanding his frustrations is by remembering how we feel whenever SB Nation changes up the site layouts or commenting systems. It’s still, basically, the same system, the same principle at work, but oh man, it’s infuriating because it’s not quite the same as you remembered it and it’s a little bit trickier, maybe even harder, to navigate.