CHICAGO -- By all accounts, Dale Sveum seems to be a baseball purist, although the Chicago Cubs manager is also a huge fan of the NFL and it puts him in a quandary when it comes to replay.
One day after two umpire calls went against the Cubs in the eighth inning of a 4-3 loss to the Houston Astros, Sveum seemed to reluctantly agree that an expanded use of replay in Major League Baseball would be to the game’s benefit.
“I know they’re thinking about (expanded replay) and what avenues they’re going down with that, but I think at certain times, yeah, you can use it,” Sveum said Sunday.
As of now, replay in baseball is only used to determine disputes on home runs. Even if it was expanded it still might not have helped the Cubs on Saturday.
Alfonso Soriano appeared safe on a pickoff play in the eighth inning, but he was called out on a bang-bang play. Then with the bases loaded in a tie game, Darwin Barney appeared to draw a walk, but a pitch low and inside was called a strike. Barney ended up popping up later in the at-bat.
The Cubs never scored in the inning and the Astros won it with a run in the ninth.
“You have to do something like the NFL, where you get two challenges: one in the first five innings, one in the last four and maybe the last two minutes everything is under review,” Sveum said, in a light-hearted nod at the NFL rule. “You can open up so many things with replay.”
What could also be opened up with expanded replay is the potential to make three-hour major league games even longer. Sveum said expanded replay would have to address that issue.
“They would have to have somebody in the booth and some kind of communication to say boom, you got it wrong, you got it right, instead of four (umpires) having to go in and check it themselves,” Sveum said. “It would have to be an extra guy just watching it and you can get it done within 30 seconds.”
Sveum argued the Soriano call on the field with umpire David Rackley. He did not come on the field to argue the pitch to Barney, although he was shouting from the bench at umpire Phil Cuzzi.