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NL Denies Marlins’ Replay Protest

June 3, 1999

NEW YORK (AP) _ In a decision that won’t be reviewed on videotape, the National League denied the Florida Marlins’ protest of umpire Frank Pulli’s use of a TV replay.

``I certainly agree with the Marlins’ position that instant replays should not be allowed in the game and I sympathize with their concern that Mr. Pulli, in an excess of caution, decided to use a video camera,″ NL president Len Coleman wrote Thursday.

``That being said, however, it does not follow that the protest should be sustained.″

Coleman held that Pulli’s incorrect decision to consult a replay and change Cliff Floyd’s home run to a double was a judgment call _ and judgment calls can’t be overturned with protests.

Floyd claimed his fifth-inning drive in Florida’s 5-2 loss to St. Louis on Monday was a home run because it bounced off the facade behind the left-field scoreboard in Miami.

Greg Gibson, the second base umpire, thought the ball hit off the scoreboard and called it a double. Pulli, the crew chief, changed the call to a homer after an argument, and St. Louis then argued. Pulli studied replays on a TV camera near the Marlins dugout, then changed the call back to a double.

The following day, Coleman and AL president Gene Budig issued statements saying replays had no place in umpiring decisions.

``While I have taken steps to ensure that umpires in the future do not use a video camera,″ Coleman said, ``I do not believe that I can or should overrule the judgment of Mr. Pulli to do so in this case, particularly because he was using the camera to review and reverse a prior judgment of fellow umpires that in turn had reviewed and reversed an earlier judgment. The protest is denied.″

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