Last night in the 9th inning the Cincinnati Reds were trailing 5-2 and Joey Votto came to the plate with a runner on and he absolutely unloaded on the ball, hitting a tower fly ball into the second deck at Dodger Stadium down the right field line. Votto thought it was a home run, but the umpires disagreed. The Reds challenged the call and after some review in New York, the call stayed as a foul ball. On video it’s truly tough to tell. The ball was so high that it was way above the foul pole and you couldn’t use it as a guide to see if the ball wrapped around it or not.

Twenty years ago that was the best thing we could do – use the video. But it’s not 2002 anymore. Today there are cameras around the ballpark that track everything that happens on the field. Hawkeye is what is used to give us all of that fancy Statcast data. It tracks pitches, spins rates, pitch velocity, hit exit velocity, the speed of the players running, the speed to the fielders, the movement of the fielders, and very important to this discussion – the flight of the baseball.

Major League Baseball doesn’t allow the use of the technology to make calls in the game. They’re trying to get there with allowing the Hawkeye system call the strikezone, and they are doing it in some leagues in the minors. But it’s not there for the big leagues yet. Still, the public gets some access to the data, while some of it is closed off. I was able to get the data on the Joey Votto “foul ball” from last night, and Hawkeye shows that it was a fair ball and that it should have been a home run.

That would have made it a 5-4 ballgame in the top of the 9th inning. Instead it was ruled foul, the score remained 5-2, and Votto would eventually strike out. Tyler Stephenson followed up with a ground out to end the game. We’ll never know how things would have changed had the umpires gotten the call correct on the field or on review, but Cincinnati would have had another out to work with and only would have needed one run to extend the game instead of three. Maybe the result winds up the same – a 4th straight loss for the Reds. But when a team is struggling like the Reds are, it doesn’t help when an enormous play is erased when it shouldn’t have been.

10 Responses

  1. Jim Walker

    As the old Jerry Reed song from the 1970s or thereabouts noted, When you’re hot you’re hot. When you’re not you’re not. The Reds are not.

  2. Mark Moore

    Seems to me on a VERY difficult call such as this, they would find a way to use the available technology. I get that’s not how it plays out right now, but it still stinks.

  3. Tomn

    Is there anywhere to see a video replay of the non-homer

  4. CFD3000

    Figures. This seems like such a no brainer. The naked eye cannot tell in a split second if a curving ball well above the top of the fair pole is fair or foul from several hundred feet away. But Hawkeye can. So… let’s rely on the human eye. Makes perfect sense. Tell me again why I can’t watch live Reds games in Asheville, NC, more than a 5 hour drive from GABP? Oh yeah, because MLB. Sheesh.

    • LarkinPhillips

      I’m in Bristol Tennessee and can’t but in Bristol Virginia I can watch the game. The reason MLB can’t grow the game is because current fans can’t watch the game, much less new ones!

    • Bet on Red

      Move to Durham, we can see them here lol

    • Mark Moore

      WHAT??? I would have thought you were in that Atlanta market over there. And I found it odd that Raleigh-Durham is Nats/Orioles.

      I’m betting when I visit my daughter in Georgia at the end of the week I’ll be fine. Then again, that would make sense. It is the Brave’s market there under 2 hours from Atlanta.

  5. BK

    Eggscellent suggestion to use Hawkeye for these calls. The whole point is to get the calls “right.”

    P.S. Happy Easter!

  6. RedsGettingBetter

    It would seem that all of unlucky things are happening to the Reds right now… it could mean hopefully that is gonna change so a lot of good things should be coming soon to happen

  7. Melvin

    Interesting. That’s too bad. He definitely CRUSHED it. Well at least if anyone is wondering if Votto still has power this year that question should be answered.