Close home runs can get reviewed

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OMAHA, Neb. — For now, only an umpire’s call on whether a home run really is a home run will be subject to video review at the College World Series.

NCAA vice president for football and baseball Dennis Poppe said Tuesday that officials would have to think long and hard about adding other situations.

Division I baseball leaders took action until a home run by Florida was wrongly ruled a double at last year’s CWS, Poppe said.

“There’s an example of where instant replay could have corrected that,” he said. “Fortunately, it didn’t impact the game. But you don’t want human error or the inability to see something to influence the game and the effort the kids put forth.”

Umpires at the CWS, which starts Friday, will be limited to reviewing whether a batted ball has cleared the fence, gone foul or if a fan has interfered.

“Let’s walk before we run,” Poppe said. “Let’s make sure we have down the crucial issues, and there probably is no more crucial issue than the home run – whether it’s good or bad.”

Florida coach Kevin O’Sul­livan, whose team is back in Omaha as the No. 1 seed, said anything that can help the umpires get the call right is a good thing.

“That’s no knock on not getting the call last year,” he said. “That’s what makes this sport so good: there’s decisions sometimes in the game that aren’t right and you’ve got to battle through those decisions.”

Instant replay couldn’t be used in the regular season or regionals because not all games are televised, Poppe said. ESPN provides more than a dozen camera angles at the CWS, and TD Ameritrade Park easily accommodates a review area.

The use of instant replay will be left to the discretion of the umpire crew chief and must occur before the next pitch or play. If instant replay is used, the umpire who made the disputed call and the crew chief would go to a designated area to review video. At least one umpire would remain on the field. During a review, the defensive team players would be required to maintain their positions and other players and coaches would have to stay in the dugout.

The crew chief makes the final decision on whether a call stands or is reversed.

Ray Tanner, coach of two-time defending national champion South Carolina, joked that he wants to have a challenge flag to throw onto the field like football coaches who want a play reviewed.

“We’ve grown a lot in this game and, lo and behold, we’re doing video review in college baseball,” Tanner said. “That’s outstanding.”


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