One unforeseen consequence of baseball’s new expanded replay system will likely be more injuries as fielders will be forced to change how they play the game.
One glaring example came up during Wednesday’s spring training game between the Orioles and the Rays.
In the first inning, Adam Jones hit a routine ground ball to shortstop, but was called safe when the umpire ruled that the first baseman had pulled his foot off the bag.
The first baseman was not pulled off the bag by a bad throw. Instead, the first baseman pulled his foot from the bag using a move used by first baseman all the time to avoid being stepped on by the runner.
In the past, this is an out in Major League Baseball as umpires respected the play as long as the first baseman was close enough.
However, in this case, it was so close that it suggests the umpires are now calling this play by the letter of the law because of replay. In fact, replay showed the foot was still on the bag and the runner should have been out.
While the “neighbourhood play” is not reviewable at second base, it is at first base. The same situation is likely to come up at home plate on home-to-first base double-plays.
The consequence is that players will now be forced to change how they play the game and will be forced to keep their feet on the bags and home plate longer.
As a result, more players will be stepped on.
While most of those will be minor injuries, if an injury occurs at all, we are likely to see more examples of the broken ankle Tim Hudson suffered last season when he was stepped on covering first base.
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