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Despite Unloading on the Umpires Monday, Jim Leyland Is Still Undecided About Expanding Replay in Major League Baseball

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After a tremendous late-season run a year ago and an offseason that saw the Tigers add Prince Fielder to an already potent offense, there were high expectations for Detroit as they were looking to defend their AL Central crown. However, the Tigers have gotten off to a rocky start and there have been a ton of inconsistencies that have led to a 23-26 start. The frustration is building in Detroit and it came to a boiling point on Monday when Jim Leyland unloaded on the umpires after a blown call cost Detroit three runs in their game against the Red Sox.
Umpires certainly have a tough job and there are a lot of bang-bang plays but Leyland had a legitimate beef on Monday. Maybe the Tigers would’ve won the game or maybe they still would’ve lost the game. Who really knows how the outcome would have changed? However one thing that is clear is that a call like the one on Monday should not and cannot be missed and there should be consequences for bad umpiring because there has been a lot of it in Major League Baseball lately.

Here’s a link to the video as we’re having trouble embedding it.

Jim Leyland joined WXYT in Detroit with Stoney and Bill to talk about the blown call by the umpire in the game against Boston on Monday, what he meant when he said “everybody needs to be held accountable” after the game Monday, whether he would like replay to expand in Major League Baseball and the frustration with the lack of offense and lack of wins.

On the blown call in the game against Boston on Monday:

“Obviously we felt like a blown call led to three runs which obviously it did. There’s no question about that but like I said you can’t chew yesterday’s breakfast. We let them know that we weren’t satisfied with that and we felt that way and it directly led to three runs that they shouldn’t have had so that’s part of the game. I think like Gerald Laird said, we know the umpires are trying to do the best they can, it was just a shocking call to me because the fact that the umpire was 120 feet away and I questioned it when he called it, I couldn’t believe it really and that’s all part of it. I think the replay clearly showed that he caught the ball and there was no question about that. That’s all part of the game.”

What he meant by “everybody needs to be held accountable” when he said that following Monday’s loss:

“What I was talking about is everybody, managers, players, coaches and everybody has to be held accountable and I just feel that’s the case for the umpires as well. Calls like that should not be missed. Players, managers and coaches get fined and when you make a call like that as an umpire which you understand they’re trying to do the best they can and we know that but when you make a call like that you have to expect that somebody is going to complain and argue about it and if you don’t think so you’re just not thinking right. That’s just the way it is. If you miss a call like that you have to take a little something. Nobody was on anybody that bad. The bench was saying something about costing three runs and he wasn’t going to listen to it. All Gene LaMont said was the same thing.

When a call like that is made and it costs you two or three runs then people are going to say something. The umpire has to be aware of that. I just think everybody has to accept their responsibility. I think sometimes when a manager messes up or a player messes up they write about it and they should but it just doesn’t seem to me the same with the umpires. It’s just kind of a shrug of the shoulders and ‘oh blown call.’ That’s it. It just doesn’t seem like we make enough of that. I’m not going to sit there and rip the umpires. I think over the years I have stuck up for the umpires probably more than any manager in baseball and I will continue to do that. It’s just when you’re in the heat of battle and a call is missed like that, if you think somebody is not going to be upset  and people aren’t going to say something then you’re wrong.”

Whether he would like to see replay expand more:

“I don’t know. I’m to the point where I’m on the board with the commissioner, on that committee, and I’m not really sure how I feel about that anymore because first of all so much technology would be involved to get replay totally like everybody wants to have. I’m not so sure they shouldn’t just do away with replay totally. Don’t have any replay because what’s going to happen is it’s going to keep stretching out and where do you stop? Where do you start it and where do you stop it? I don’t think you can just replay everything and turn this into a computer thing where you look up after every play or every questionable call, that just doesn’t seem like it would be conducive to keeping the game going, I know there is a lot of expense involved in something like that so I don’t know. I’m not sure that they shouldn’t just do away with it totally and then just live with the facts.

Whatever it is it is. It might not be a bad idea where you just can’t argue with umpires anymore. That might be the best way to go because all this does is just gets people upset, it gets people fined, it gets people in trouble so you might as well not even argue with an umpire anymore. That’s just the way I feel about it because it just doesn’t do any good. It doesn’t really serve any purpose anymore. Things don’t change and there was a call yesterday that was an obvious call and what can you do about it? You can’t do anything about it. All you do is get fined, you probably go out there and make a fool out of yourself and I want to reiterate that the umpires are trying to do the best they can but I don’t know, we may be better off if they just come out with a rule that says you can’t argue with umpires. Forget it because doesn’t serve any purpose. It doesn’t do any good.”

On the frustration with the lack of offense and the lack of wins:

“That’s all part of it and the focus always seems to be on Ryan Raburn but Raburn hasn’t been the only problem. There have been some dead spots in our lineup and I understand the Raburn issue, that seems to be one player that everybody singles out all the time and obviously he has done nothing up until this point, but we are not where we are solely because of Ryan Raburn. A lot of us haven’t contributed but it’s not the end of the world where we are right now. We have a good team, we’re going to win, we’re going to play good and we’re going to win our share of games. We’re going to be right in the hunt. It’s hard to explain that to people right now because they’re very emotional fans and we appreciate that. We understand that. So far it’s been a little inconsistent and some of the guys that had career years last year have been inconsistent and are not up to their standards just yet so we will have to wait and see how this thing plays out.”

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