Umpires don't use replay in Classic

Hernandez's homer was decided by consensus, not by video

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MIAMI -- Despite appearances, the World Baseball Classic is still awaiting its first use of instant replay.

Umpires conferred for nearly 10 minutes regarding a ball hit by Venezuela's Ramon Hernandez. And though it appeared that the umpiring crew went to the video to determine whether Hernandez's ball was a home run, the replay system at Dolphin Stadium did not function for the umpires' use.

"The replay was not reviewed," said crew chief Ed Rapuano. "They couldn't get me the replay in the locker room on the replay board."

After initially being credited with a triple, Hernandez was determined to have hit a home run in the seventh inning of Monday night's Venezuela-Puerto Rico game. Leading off the seventh with his team leading, 1-0, Hernandez crushed a high line drive to left-center field. The ball hit off a concrete embankment just above the out-of-town scoreboard, a spot that per the ground rules is a home run if the ball hits there.

As Hernandez circled the bases, however, second-base umpire Mark Wegner indicated that the ball was not a home run. Hernandez stopped at third base with what was initially, evidently, a triple.

The umpiring crew -- consisting of two American umpires and two from Japan -- conferred before eventually going to an instant replay area to determine where the ball hit. Venezuelan fans chanted "jonron" during the wait, and the video screen in the outfield at Dolphin Stadium showed that the play had gone to replay.

Ten minutes after Hernandez hit the ball and seven minutes after they went to try to view the video, the umpires emerged with a home run call. Hernandez's shot off of reliever Giancarlo Alvarado counted as a solo home run, doubling Venezuela's lead in the winners-bracket game.

"We discussed it on the field," Rapuano said. "The four umpires got together with the interpreter, and I asked each of the umpires what they saw. The second-base umpire saw the ball hit the wall and come back to the field of play; the first-base umpire [Masato Tomoyose] saw it go over the wall and come back; the third-base umpire [Hitoshi Watarida] saw it go over the wall and come back. I saw it go on the wall and come back. I couldn't tell. I asked the first-base umpire if he was 110 percent sure if it was a home run. He said no. I asked the third-base umpire if he was 110 percent sure. He said absolutely."

Matthew Leach is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.