Andres Torres rounded first on his way to second, and slid in, safely, hustling his way to a two-bagger. But what happened next?
1) The game was paused for a moment.
2) Meanwhile, someone checked the game tape to see what happened.
What's that you say? MLB doesn't allow instant replay in most situations. But the above is, 100%, true. Yes, yes, the two items above aren't entirely related. But they both happened.
As we all know, Torres' slide was head-first, and his head took a beating. Terry and the trainer came out to check on him, and after a few minutes, judged him to be OK. It happens often -- not every game, of course (although it did happen twice in yesterday's) -- and fans seem not to mind.
I'll let Andy Martino tell this story.
As Torres motored past first base, umpire Dave Rackley looked down, appearing to notice something. Beltran, watching on television in the batting cage (he did not play Monday), saw it, too.
“When he hit the ball, he was running and looking at the ball,” Beltran said of his former San Francisco teammate. “He never looked at the bag. I saw the sand coming off around the bag area. . . . It looked like he didn’t touch first base.”
So Beltran ran from the cage to the dugout, and told manager Mike Matheny to order Motte to throw to first.
“Normally when you touch the bag you don’t see sand coming off,” Beltran said. “I told Mike, ‘Just give it a try.’”
Put aside Martino's ridiculous editorial comment about how Rackley "appear[ed] to notice something." The more important fact is that Beltran was watching the game on TV. He had access to any replays the broadcast showed and, if he had a DVR and a remote, could rewind the play himself.
I'm not arguing that Rackley made the right or wrong call. A ton of others have, on either side. What I care about is how instant replay played a role in this game, and how no one cares. Correctly, mind you. No one would have cared if the game were paused -- after all, it was. And no one cares about the "integrity" of the game here, even though a person not on the field or even in a place where he could see the field noticed something. Bud Selig isn't writing a nastygram to Rackley for allowing TV to influence is call. Fans aren't bemoaning the lack of the human element here. No one is upset that the game was delayed while someone watched the tape.
We're ready for replay, and this turn of events clinches it.