The game's traditionalists may have been reeling in horror as
modern technology was given a new role in America's favorite pastime
but there were few grumbles when the managers put the new rules to
the test on Monday.
The new system, which allows managers to challenge on-field rulings
from the umpires, was unanimously approved by MLB teams early this
year after a series of highly-publicized blown calls in recent
years, most notably when a mistake by Jim Joyce cost Detroit pitcher
Armando Galarraga a perfect game in 2010.
On Monday's opening day, the new system was put to the test. The
first manager to try his luck was Chicago Cubs skipper Rick
Renteria, who challenged a call in his team's game in Pittsburgh
when one of his runners was called out.
The play was reviewed by an adjudicating panel at MLB's Replay
Operations Center in New York, who confirmed the on-field ruling.
Atlanta Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez fared much better when he
succeeded in getting an umpiring decision reversed, the first in
Gonzalez challenged a ruling by first-base umpire Greg Gibson when
Milwaukee Brewers outfielder Ryan Braun was ruled safe at first base
in the bottom of the sixth inning.
After watching a replay, which was also shown to fans at Miller
Park, the review panel overturned the original decision.
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A number of other managers tried and failed to overturn reviews, but
later in the day Pittsburgh Pirates manager Clint Hurdle also won a
challenge, against the Cubs.
With the game in the balance in the top of the 10th inning with
neither team having scored a run, Emilio Bonifacio of the Cubs was
called safe at first base.
But Hurdle immediately and was proven correct, Bonifacio was ruled
out and the Pirates rubbed more salt into Chicago's wounds when Neil
Walker blasted a walk-off home run in the bottom of the 10th.
(Reporting by Julian Linden; editing by Frank Pingue)
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