Gardenhire suggests expanding review
Twins, skipper react to disputed game-ending play
OAKLAND -- Twins manager Ron Gardenhire has a plan for Major League Baseball if it ever decides to expand video review beyond its current system.He just had to look to another sport to find it. "I've said all along that I want a red flag," Gardenhire said, referencing the NFL's red challenge flag that's used for video review. "If you use it and you're wrong, you don't get the red flag the rest of the game. But if you use it and you're right, you get your red flag back. That would save me a lot of [fine] money. Just throw the red flag and replay it." It's certainly a flag that Gardenhire would have used on Monday night when Michael Cuddyer was called out on a close play at the plate in the ninth inning by home-plate umpire Mike Muchlinski, preventing the tying run from scoring in a 14-13 loss to the A's. Replays of the slide showed that Cuddyer's foot touched home plate before pitcher Michael Wuertz's tag hit his leg. Although the Twins had already blown a 10-run lead in the contest, Cuddyer scoring would have tied the game and put the go-ahead run for the Twins on third base with two outs in the ninth inning. Currently video review is only used on home run calls. But based on what happened in Monday night's contest, would Cuddyer like to see video review used in situations like that, as well? "I'm not opposed to it," Cuddyer said. "As long as you get the calls right, I don't care how much time it takes, as long as you get them right. That's just me. I'm in the action, and I'm playing, and it affects you either way." Gardenhire also supports the expansion of video review, with the red flag theory being something that he also hopes would save him from a few costly ejections. It's not a new idea for Gardenhire, who has brought up the plan previously. The Twins manager said he even joked with an umpiring crew at the Metrodome about the red flag, sending first-base umpire Jerry White to home plate with a red sanitary the day after Gardenhire had been ejected and joked that the skipper might use that instead in the game. "Football has a red flag, why don't we?" Gardenhire quipped. "I could keep it in my sock like they do." Regardless of whether video review will be expanded in the future, it wasn't available for the Twins in the final play on Monday night. So instead, there were plenty of people still talking about the play the day after it happened. Video of Cuddyer's slide into home plate has been all over television sports highlight shows since the end of Monday night's contest. Cuddyer said that he's heard from many family and friends who had watched the replays, and the overwhelming consensus was that the call was wrong. The funny thing is that Wuertz has had nearly the same reaction from his friends and family - including his brothers Tom and Scott -- about the call being wrong. Although it's not a surprise, as Wuertz is an Austin, Minn., native. "They let me know what they thought," Wuertz said. "I said, 'It doesn't matter what you think.' Everybody, I think they're still Twins fans, but they're my fans, as well. "It was a bang-bang play. It could have gone either way. If you slow it down, it is what it is." Cuddyer smiled at Gardenhire's suggestion of a red flag in baseball but reiterated that whatever needs to be done to get calls right should be done. As for Wuertz, it doesn't seem like he'd be a big fan of Gardenhire's red flag idea. In a radio interview after Monday's game, Wuertz said: "It's one of those replays where you're glad it's not football."
Kelly Thesier is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.