A minor league baseball player with ties to Hastings entered the Major League Baseball record books this week.
Jared Goedert, whose father, Joe, is a Hastings native, was involved in the first-ever expanded replay challenge play in MLB history during a spring training game Monday afternoon between the Toronto Blue Jays and Minnesota Twins in Ft. Myers, Fla.
Goedert, a former Cleveland Indians prospect traded by the Pittsburgh Pirates to the Toronto Blue Jays during the off-season, was playing first base when an errant throw by Blue Jays shortstop Munenori Kawasaki pulled him off the bag.
A utility player whose positions include first and third base and outfield, Goedert came off the bag temporarily with his right foot to corral the high throw, then tapped first base with his right toe just as Twins baserunner Chris Rahl crossed it.
Despite his best efforts to sell the put-out, umpire Fieldin Culbreth ruled Rahl safe, prompting the appeal by Blue Jays manager John Gibbons. Two minutes and 34 seconds later, Culbreth’s call was upheld.
Whether the play was simply too close to overturn or the umpire making the call from the satellite truck outside the ball park believed Rahl was indeed safe was not revealed. What was revealed was the ushering in of the instant replay system to address rulings beyond home run calls.
Goedert, who viewed replay footage of the play, said Wednesday afternoon that he still wasn’t sure whether his toe hit the bag before or after Rahl touched down. But he was relieved to see that he hadn’t embarrassed himself on the play in any way. Particularly since footage of the play drew national attention on ESPN and MLB networks.
“I hoped I’d done the right footwork and didn’t lunge forward too quickly,” he said. “I felt I did what I could to try to make the catch and stay on the bag. I couldn’t hear or feel when he (Rahl) touched the bag. Then our manager came out to challenge it.
“The infielders all gathered on the mound and one of them said something about it being the first one (replay review). I thought he meant the first one in the series. It wasn’t until after the game when I talked to a couple of reporters in the club house that I was made aware it was the first one ever. It was kind of crazy.”