According to Christian Red of the Daily News, MLB vice president of baseball operations Joe Torre has indicated that John Farrell will be facing a fine over his comments critical of the league's new instant replay system:
"I'm not going to suspend him. It will be a fine," Torre said of Farrell. "I'm sorry about what he said. What I try to do in whatever I do in this job that the commissioner has imported me to do, is basically never forget what it's like to be a player or a manager.
This is not unexpected, but it is completely and utterly laughable.
It's not unexpected because professional sports leagues have a long history of near-dystopian thought policing. They tolerate no questioning, no dissent, no matter how legitimate the criticisms levied.
It's laughable because John Farrell is completely justified in calling the league on it's utter failure. Sunday's controversy--over the bang-bang play at first base--is one thing, though MLB has still failed to clear up the confusion around what constitutes possession of the ball at the base (Farrell and the ESPN broadcast provided different definitions). But after the debacle on Saturday, when officials claim to not have had the angle which showed Dean Anna clearly out at second base (one which fans watching at home had all along), Farrell has every right to rail against the system.
Instant replay is a good thing. A great thing, even. When a team loses or wins a game on a bad call, the result is a hollow victory and an infuriating defeat. It's a net loss in the value of that particular game. But doing a good think badly isn't much better than not doing it at all, and in a situation like Saturday's might actually be worse. Until the league gets this system right--one which it frankly should have had a decade to work on--every last bit of grief is earned ten times over.
I imagine Farrell has a very specific idea where Joe Torre can put his fine. And personally, I really wish he'd make that opinion public, even if it means turning that fine into a suspension.