Daily Distractions: Dodgers, Arizona Diamondbacks won’t have expanded instant replay in Sydney. That’s OK.

Sydney Cricket Ground baseball

A construction crane works on the area around the right field foul pole at the Sydney Cricket Ground. (John Blundell’s Twitter account)

The Dodgers and Arizona Diamondbacks won’t have expanded instant replay available to them for their season-opening games at Sydney Cricket Ground on March 22 and 23.

From the Associated Press:

The technology that MLB will use at other games during the regular season won’t be in place for the opener. Standard replay will be available in Australia for disputed home run and boundary calls under the format in place since 2008.

That could be a good thing.

There have been a few concrete takeaways from the use of instant replay so far in Cactus League. One is that the managers and umpires truly need time to practice. Learning what calls can be challenged by a manager, what calls can be challenged by an umpire — and when — hasn’t happened overnight.

Another is that some stadium camera angles suck.

Take this incident from yesterday’s game between the Angels and Cincinnati Reds:

(Angels catcher) Hank Conger was called safe at second base trying to stretch an RBI single into a double in the fifth inning. Reds manager Bryan Price challenged the call made by umpire Jim Reynolds. A television replay showed that Conger was tagged out, but the call was upheld by umpire Gerry Davis, who was monitoring replays from a truck in the parking lot.

Randy Marsh, MLB’s director of umpires, said that the television replay wasn’t available to Davis during the 2-minute, 15-second review. Only four in-house camera angles at Tempe Diablo Stadium were available, and none conclusively showed Conger being tagged out.

Davis saw the television replay after the call was upheld.

“It was an umpires’ nightmare,” Marsh said.

Price lost his only manager’s challenge of the game because of the decision to uphold the call.

Here’s a relevant question for the two games in Sydney: What’s worse, relying on the umpires to get the call right like baseball has for 125 years, or relying on less-than-conclusive camera angles just because the rules say you can?

Some bullet points for a Middle Name Pride Day:

• I had no room for this quote anywhere, but it’s worth publishing somewhere. I asked Don Mattingly if he ever second-guessed the decision to have Paco Rodriguez pitch to Jason Heyward rather than Reed Johnson in Game 3 of the National League Division Series last October. “I didn’t have to,” he said. “You all did it for me.”

• The Dodgers’ starter for Wednesday’s game against the Diamondbacks is still listed as TBD. Zach Lee can make the start on regular rest if the Dodgers want; he pitched March 7 and threw two shutout innings against the Texas Rangers. “I’m sure we’ll have the innings (for Lee), I’m not sure if it’s a start,” Mattingly said on Saturday. “That spot that he threw in was for Stephen Fife.”

Carl Crawford wants to steal more bases.

Hanley Ramirez is happy: Happy enough to scare the crap out of Juan Uribenot happy enough to discuss his contract situation.

Hideo Nomo visited Vero Beach, Florida.

Hideo  Nomo

• When asked about Historic Dodgertown’s influence on his career, Nomo said (per a press release): “This was the very first place that I was exposed to the Major Leagues upon joining the Dodgers. Baseball was my life, it was everything to me at that time and I was so inspired to perform well because I felt the history and the atmosphere. Historic Dodgertown was very important because much of my career was with the Dodgers, and with people like Peter O’Malley and Tommy Lasorda.”

Gabe Kapler, whose final at-bat came as a Dodger in March 2011, picks the Dodgers as the best team in ball.

Anthony Boyer, writing for CrawfishBoxes.com, suggests that clubs should re-assess the deployment of their scouts by region. I think the more accurate conclusion from the data is that teams should probably be spreading their draft picks out by state more liberally — whether that means hiring more scouts, or assigning different regions to the existing scouts, is up to the teams.

• Certified player agent Joshua Kusnick, writing on MLBtalk101.com: “Not only will the marketing opportunities for the first openly gay player be equal to that of a straight player with a comparable skill level, I think the marketing value from a business perspective will be enormous forever. Books, movies, speaking engagements, interviews, sports drinks, apparel, trading cards, autograph deals, commercials, literally the opportunities will be endless because of how ground breaking that individual will be.”

• Reading this morning’s Barry Bonds transcript was a lot less tortuous than reading the last few Barry Bonds transcripts.

• Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher Brad Ziegler said the Collective Bargaining Agreement won’t be reopened until it expires.

• I sat next to the San Diego-based rapper Yasko in the Camelback Ranch press box Saturday night. Unfortunately I was on deadline so we couldn’t chat much, but here’s her track “When I Get Back” featuring Anna Jackson. The production quality is crude but the catchiness shines through:

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