Manuel remains 'human nature guy'
Manager stops short of backing replay for trap-or-catch calls
ST. LOUIS -- Phillies manager Charlie Manuel believes strongly in the human element when it comes to umpiring decisions. But he also believes that the bottom line is getting a call right.
What if the umpires need a little help in determining whether a ball was trapped? Could replay work in that situation?
Manuel had a trap-or-catch call go against his club in the ninth inning of Saturday's 3-2 loss to the Cardinals. That led to a postgame conversation in Manuel's office about whether the skipper would be in favor of extending the current instant replay talks in Major League Baseball to balls that may or may not have been trapped.
With two outs in the ninth inning, Geoff Jenkins hit a sinking liner to right field, and Ryan Ludwick laid out for the ball and came up with it. But even Ludwick admitted after seeing replays that it looked like he didn't catch it.
The Phillies would have had Pedro Feliz at the plate against Cardinals closer Ryan Franklin with the tying run at first. Manuel said he might have opted for Greg Dobbs as a pinch-hitter.
"A guy might pop one out of the yard," Manuel said.
Nevertheless, Manuel stopped short of voicing support for using instant replay on trap decisions.
"I'm a human nature guy," Manuel said.
Manuel's hope is that the umpire closest to the play would almost always be able to make the correct call regarding trap or catch.
"If you're close to the play, you should be able to see it," Manuel said. "Somebody has to see it."
Robert Falkoff is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.