At times, it seems that the only thing instant replay is good for is slowing games down. But on Tuesday, we saw the good of instant replay, thanks to an abysmal original call.
In the fourth inning of Tuesday’s game with the Atlanta Braves, San Francisco Giants lead-off man Luis González hit a flyball to the outfield that appeared deep enough to easily score Brandon Crawford from third base. Atlanta outfielder Michael Harris II came up with a strong throw, though, and threw Crawford out at the plate — at least according to home plate umpire Shane Livensparger.
The Giants take the lead right back!
This is an incredible throw from Michael Harris II that nearly gets Brandon Crawford, but after review it is ruled he got in.
Crawford was shaken up on the play and we hope he is okay. pic.twitter.com/krpU8AmLj4
— Just Baseball (@JustBBMedia) June 22, 2022
The play was reviewed and quickly overturned. But people watching the game were left wondering just how it was missed in the first place.
At first glance that was a terrible call at home plate on Crawford.
— Steve Berman (@BASportsGuy) June 22, 2022
Stevie Wonder called.. even he could see Crawford was safe! pic.twitter.com/q0UQKyy7N5
— Geoff (@TheGiantsFan707) June 22, 2022
Crawford was very safe. I’m shocked he was called out.
— Geoff Schwartz (@geoffschwartz) June 22, 2022
Crawford is definitely safe. The new way umpires umpire this is to "backpack" the catcher and that ironically didn't help with getting the call correct in the first place.
— Scott Armstrong (@STApxp) June 22, 2022
Crawford looked safe by a mile at first glance! #SFGameUp
— The 501 Glove (@jfitzsports) June 22, 2022
crawford was so easily safe, how does the ump get the perfect angle and miss it?
— w (@witgiz) June 22, 2022
There are two positive things to note here.
One, the correct call was ultimately made and the review didn’t take a long time. Even on obvious calls, that’s often not the case.
Two, this was only an issue because of an otherworldly throw by Harris. Crawford is not exactly a speed demon but 99% of the time, he scores easily from third on a ball hit that deep. That’s a part of the reason why his slide was so awkward and he ended up hurting himself. More often than not, he’s scoring with no drama and probably no throw. But Harris did a great job of building up his momentum towards home and then made a fantastic throw. Harris deserves nothing but praise for even making this an issue.
With all of that said, despite Harris’ great throw, Crawford was clearly safe. It’s hard to understand why the umpire standing behind the catcher and therefore, having his view of the plate being blocked, is smart. Regardless, that’s what happened here.
Bad calls on balls and strikes have gotten most of the attention this year, primarily because they can’t be reviewed and corrected. Still, even though the right call was eventually made, the fact that such a clear call was missed is not a great look.