With two out and runners on first and second, down 3-2 to the Boston Red Sox, Toronto Blue Jays shortstop John McDonald willed a bloop single to left field off closer Jonathan Papelbon, inspiring Edwin Encarnacion to round third base and meet catcher Jason Varitek, who was just receiving the ball from a throw by left fielder Darnell McDonald, at home plate, only to be called out when momentum, after colliding with Varitek’s plate block, helicoptered his right leg on top of home before the catcher actually made the tag (as seen in the picture above).

It was a disappointing end to a very exciting game of baseball. Check out another angle and the FanGraphs box score for the actual details of the game.

Comments (30)

  1. It’s rather dumbfounding that Selig still hasn’t instituted an instant replay challenge system in this league like basketball, hockey, football, tennis, cricket, and every other fucking sport in the world. Eventually, correctable mistakes like this are going to impact more than just a July Jays-Red Sox game, they’ll cost a team a playoff game or even a World Series.

  2. I was going to save this for a Friday stray thought, but during Sunday’s argument, who could possibly justify the lack of replay in baseball by suggesting that it would kill the flow of the game or make it longer or something to that effect?

    It should also be mentioned that Patterson probably had strike three called for a ball before hitting a single.

  3. You know what kills the flow of the game? The Red Sox and Yankees.

  4. I don’t buy that it would kill the flow of the game. The great thing about baseball is that there is no set time limit and there are things that kill the flow all the time like people running on the field or arguments with the umpire. It is truly a small price to pay in order to get the call right. I think it should be used for every questionable call. Just put in a challenge system and that way we can all go home happy knowing the right call was made. How many challenges 2, 3? I don’t know but it needs to be implemented. I’m all for tradition of the game and all but when it is blatantly obvious change is better than make the change.

  5. I assume that everyone is agreement that balls and strikes would not be up for review/replay.

    I think plays at the plate or where a split-second reaction is required on the part of the umpire is a reviewable call. I understand there are ‘baseball purists’ out there who think that the calls of the umpires, whether they are right or wrong, are just ‘part of the game’, BUT, at what point does the game become a farce of itself? The fact that I can think of at least three plays this season off the top of my head that were incredibly important in deciding the outcome of the game that should have been reviewed is enough for me to want a replay system of some kind implemented. I don’t know how anyone could be upset to see a wrong call made by an umpire over-turned by instant to replay to accurately reflect the actual outcome of the play.

    If it were the Red Sox sliding in to home plate in this exact situation, and instant replay had been used to show that Pedroia, for example, was safe, as Encarnacion was, then I like to think that I would be happy that the CORRECT CALL was made. It will improve the integrity of the game, plain and simple.

  6. Farrell has no right to be upset over this, he gave patterson a green light or atleast didn’t give him a red light with lind at the plate facing a righty.

    fucking absolutely idiotic, this play shouldn’t even have mattered

    ps i fuckin hate corey patterson and cant wait til he’s cut

  7. Yeah yeah, instant replay. Sure. How about we talk about the ump missing a blatantly obviously call THAT HAPPENED RIGHT IN HIS FUCKING FACE? Tougher for us to tell live from the TV camera angles, but the play was right in front of the ump. Pathetic. There’s zero accountability for these guys and until that’s addressed instant replay is moot.

  8. Gee, the Jays not getting a call against one of the East’s big two?

    Same story as it’s been since, oh, 1995 or so….

  9. Or just get instant replay, and make shitty calls like this irrelevant… And perhaps more importantly, draw attention to umpires who get instant replay reversals called on them. For example, if a guy like Joe West is getting one or two instant replay challenges a night, MLB’s got to take notice, right?

    Or is that just wishful thinking?

  10. Although this thread is filled with a boatload of vitriol, I’m gonna say this anyway. I was sitting in a bar with about 4 or 5 people watching this game. When Encarnacion kicked his leg across the plate I said he was safe to the people sitting next to me. However, they thought that the umpire had made the right call. It only took about 6 or 7 replays for the others to notice that the umpire had made a bad call. It would be interesting to poll how many people saw it safe right off the bat. Thus I don’t fault the umpire too much for getting it wrong. Tough call, big moment, Jays lose. So what. Who needs instant replay?
    Why do we care so much about getting everything right? Human error is part of this game, it makes the game outstanding. Is it because we can’t quantify it? Is that it? Is it because the games are worth so many dollars a night? Is it because you have Encarnacion in your AL East only keeper league and you are losing by 1 run this week? Why aren’t people upset that the Blue Jays decided to bring the bats for 2/3 of an inning tonight? Give me a break. Tomorrow they are back at it. Same rules. Same circumstances for both clubs. Who cares? Umpires are as uncontrollable as weather, bad hops, and head-scratching managerial decisions, stop worrying about them so much and just enjoy the game for what it is: imperfect.

  11. That has got to be the worst reasoning ever for not implementing replay. Just because the game is imperfect now we should leave it be? I guess every other professional league in North America missed that memo. Why be ok with a bad call when it can be corrected? What is the cost for implementing this? A few extra minutes each game more than outweighs the inexcusable “traditional” practices in place where poor judgment from a non-participatory member of the game changes the whole outcome. This wasn’t even a bang-bang play where it can easily go one way or another.

    Jeff had it right when he said that he would applaud the right play being called even if the players on the field were reversed. One can respect a correct call being made even when it is against what they are rooting for, but it is much harder to swallow poor calls that could easily be avoided. Just look at the other sports. No one ever complains about a reviewed play when it changes a call, because this is based on factual evidence. But every week there will be outrage somewhere in baseball due to a bad call that’s set in stone.

  12. @ Trevor

    would you say the same thing if that exact call happened in a game 7 of the world series?

  13. And excuse me for being cynical, but if Pedroia was running, Arencibia was at the plate, it was the bottom of the 9th and the EXACT SAME THING HAPPENED, Pedroia would have been called safe. I saw he was safe right away. The ball was up in the air when Encarnacion slid. How he was called out, I have no clue.

    As for Patterson in the 6th, it was a hit and run. Bautista was also moving. It was just poorly timed, which happens. It worked out well for the Jays on Sunday, poorly today.

  14. http://toronto.bluejays.mlb.com/mlb/gameday/index.jsp?gid=2011_07_05_tormlb_bosmlb_1&highlight_content_id=16641227&c_id=tor

    2 things:
    at 9 seconds in, you can see the ump vigorously nodding, ready to make the out call

    you can see the ump the whole time only watching for the tag thereby missing E5′s right leg touching the plate

  15. I agree with Trevor. It’s the imperfections in the game, the intangible randomization of hit streaks and slumps over the course of a season, the bad hops, broken bats at inopportune times, a rain out when your ace is up against some rookie that make the game great. The argument for instant replay in sports is one of fairness. Sports ought to be fair, we feel, because we want to see the best team win all the time. Well sports are a metaphor for life, and the constant confrontations we face, so to quote the old cliche, since life ain’t fair, why should sports be? Yes, sometimes a sudden, unpredictable gust of wind blows a meaningless pitch foul in a no-leverage 2 out situation in the first inning and nobody reacts whereas in other cases poor groundskeeping leads to a bad hop in extra innings in the bottom of the ninth of game 7 of the world series. Those sorts of things are going to happen as long as sport is played, and some will happen in higher-leverage situations at the expense of ‘your’ team’s record.

    Baseball lends itself to technological advances to avoid umpiring miscues better than any other sport. With some simple accelerometers in the ball, and sensors on the base paths, you could get every force play, ball/strike call, foul ball, and home run call right the first time, without the ‘delay’ of an instant replay commercial break. If you included an instant replay booth much like hockey, you could have a call corrected by the guys in the booth before the manager gets to the top step to argue the call.

    Here’s one last thought I have for your fairness police out there. Go check out bostonredsox.com and watch that website’s recap of game. You’ll see an MLB sanctioned website calling that play ‘good defense’ and strong blocking by Jason Varitek. Hypothetically speaking, if instant replay were available for that play, with the game on the line, in Fenway, with the who cares Blue Jays in town, do you believe that MLB would have reversed that call? I suppose being fair and all, they should, but do you really believe it would happen? Do you think that the split second judgement of an umpire in the moment are to be trusted less than the review of the play is, when NYY and BOS seem to obviously have the league twirling in their fingers?

  16. Bottom line is that the Jays lost on a blown call, Corey Patterson needs to be sent home and Bautista is a fucking beast.

  17. Yes, bad ump calls are a long-standing part of the game. But they’re a long-standing part of the game that pre-dates high-definition video, multiple camera angles and crisp super-slow-motion playback.

    There is no reason there can’t be a booth official at every game. More jobs for umps!

  18. Baseball NEEDS instant replay in the worst way. This call, the Galaraga no-hitter call last year, and many other countless safe/out calls. It just needs it. Baseball is all about numbers and when you get certain numbers wrong, it messes things up. Instead of Cecil having a no decision last night, he gets a loss instead. And maybe the Jays get a win. Who knows what would’ve happeded after the “out” call. Galaraga last year would’ve had a no-hitter for the Tigers and himself been part of it’s history. Now, he’s on a different team and his name isn’t found on a list of baseball no-hitters. Some of these are historic calls, but they’re wasted because of the lack of instant replay. But alas, they add more umps in the play-offs to get the outfield calls right.

    NHL has it for goals/no goals. NBA has it for time keeping at the end of the quarters, NFL has coaches challenges and inside the last 2 minutes of the 2nd and 4th quarters on controversial plays. Baseball needs calls for homeruns, safe/out calls at bases, fan interference and trapped balls in the outfield. Strikes/balls/check-swings are a whole other story that is ump contolled and mostly a crapshoot anyhow. As long as Bud is in charge, MLB will always be behind the other sports when it comes to getting the calls right. Even the steroid era was all legal because nothing was off-limits: alcohol, drugs, stimulants, HGH, whatever. Screw the “purists”, get the calls RIGHT!!

  19. Why didn’t Encarnacion try and end Varitek’s career and run through him? The plate was well protected and he’s lucky he curled a leg around to touch it. Levelling a shoulder at the guy would have put a big fucking smile on my face.

  20. I really think so much of this discussion about replay is moot, although I agree with the points about human error being part of the game. You’ve got to ask yourself whether the minimal extra degree of precision that replay would provide is really worth the time it would add to games.

    Unlike in other sports, there are very few plays in baseball that lend themselves to instant replay review. This is because in the majority of cases, the umpire’s call affects what other baserunners and fielders do. It is impossible (or at the very least unwieldy and imprecise) to go back in time and recreate the play after a replay has taken place. “Trapped balls” in the outfield are the most obvious example. A runner at third on a fly ball will wait between third and home for the umpire’s call. If the ball is deemed “trapped”, and thus a hit, the runner goes directly home. What do you do if on instant replay the ball is deemed caught (or vice versa)? Do you send the runner back to third? Do you assume he would have tagged and scored regardless? Trapped balls are not unique in this regard. Almost any play where you have more than one baserunner can have similar issues.

    The difference between baseball and other sports where replay is used succesfully (i.e. tennis), is that in baseball games, what the other players do is contingent upon the umpire’s initial call. Once that call is made, there is a butterfly effect on the rest of the things happening on the field. You can’t go back in time to change the call, without changing the other things that happen subsequently. This is pretty much impossible.

  21. “Bottom line is that the Jays lost on a blown call, Corey Patterson needs to be sent home and Bautista is a fucking beast.”

    Don’t forget about John Farrell showing that he needs to be lectured on the reasons why you don’t bench a guy on a 10-game hitting streak to make room for Corey Patterson (who made one of the worst mistakes that you can in a baseball game) and why you don’t drop a .363 OBP hitter in Yunel Escobar to five in the order to make room for Rajai Davis (which is apparently the awful plan going forward).

  22. I’m not so sure that this call was really that bad. It was right in front of the Ump but he can’t look at every angle. Varitek initially blocked the plate and that was really what the Ump was looking for and then EE was pretty much under Varitek when he made the tag.

    The fact that this was a hard call though just emphasizes the need for expanded replay. I really don’t think it will slow down the game at all, here is my idea for a super fast replay system:

    1 Challenge per Manager, initially. If you get the call right, you get 1 more. If you get it wrong, you lose it.
    After the challenge an ump (or other MLB certified official) in the press box looks at replays in a booth and if it is extremely obvious, changes the call.

    And…That’s it! It would take no longer than a minute. It happens in college football all the time and it is super fast. If you wanted to speed games up just say the Manager is the only one that can challenge and you lose the challenge if you are thrown out. Boom, no more pointless arguing (Though I love managers getting tossed so I wouldn’t do this). This system actually adds MORE human element into the game because it is strategic when you make your challenge.

    @Beyonder
    I’d say its pretty uncommon for a whole lot to change after an out is made even if other runners are on base. It isn’t like Arencibia (whoever was on first) would have scored if EE was safe.

  23. @awlang. tons change depnding on whether an out call is made: force plays become plays for which tags are required: plays where runners hold their bases become plays where they could have run home and scored (or advanced), where the call is on the third out, baserunners simply stop running (and fileders stop fielding) once the out call is made.

    It was MacDonald who got that last hit. While he wouldn’t have scored, would he have made it to second? That’s a call that can’t be made in hindsight.

  24. “Well sports are a metaphor for life, and the constant confrontations we face, so to quote the old cliche, since life ain’t fair, why should sports be?”

    Because life tends to be unfair, sports should be too? That’s your argument for keeping easily correctable mistakes in the game? I don’t know about you, but sports are an escape for me. I watch them precisely because I don’t need to be reminded of the unfairness and injustice of regular, monotonous, day-to-day life. Indeed, I watch them to avoid the frustrating element of human error and enter a world where, ideally, those mistakes don’t exist. When umpires/officials/referees make judgement mistakes that cost teams points, goals, runs, games, and even championships, nobody enjoys that (except, of course, the team receiving the unfair benefit). Nobody looks as it as some kind of bullshit metaphor for life. They’re just pissed that they’re screwed out of what they rightly deserved. Fortunately, we live in an era that allows us to limit these mistakes and reduce the human error element in sports. And for the most part, the major professional sports leagues have gotten behind systems designed to do just that . Major League Baseball is really the only one that hasn’t, for reasons that only Bud Selig knows.

    “You’ll see an MLB sanctioned website calling that play ‘good defense’ and strong blocking by Jason Varitek. Hypothetically speaking, if instant replay were available for that play, with the game on the line, in Fenway, with the who cares Blue Jays in town, do you believe that MLB would have reversed that call? I suppose being fair and all, they should, but do you really believe it would happen? Do you think that the split second judgement of an umpire in the moment are to be trusted less than the review of the play is, when NYY and BOS seem to obviously have the league twirling in their fingers?”

    I think an objective group of judges would call that play for what it conclusively was on the replay (safe). There isn’t some conspiracy theory to prevent the Jays from winning baseball games.

  25. There is no conspiracy to keep the Jays from winning games. There IS a conspiracy to make sure the Yankees & Red Sox are always in the hunt and on TV as much as possible. EE was safe. I suspect any Red Sox or Yankee involved in that identical play would have been called safe, especially on home turf. Evil Empires. Fight the power.

  26. @Fullmer_Fan: Maybe you’re right, the escapism of sport is an enjoyable aspect of it. I can’t argue with that. But I do think that most athletes at an elite level recognize that on a given day when they are competing, the game is not a competition between two teams or two individuals. It’s a sprinter on an open track, a skier zipping down the mountain, or a pitcher throwing to a catcher. The game is about how well you performed, and whether you can perform well enough to earn a win, regardless of your opponent. Sometimes your opponent loses a game (or a race or a match), but at elite levels, you need to earn a win. And to earn that win, you don’t just have to overcome your opponents, but you must overcome the adversity of those intangible x-factors like weather, groundskeeping and officiating. This is what I mean that it is a metaphor for life; sport is about how well you can do based on your own skills, not based on the factors that surround you.

    Personally, I believe that it’s the fans who are at the heart of the replay debate, because we, as vicarious observers have zero input to the outcome of the game, and want to see that the battle is fought fairly by both sides. Conversely, the player only regards his or her performance on the field or in the arena as being what he can control, not whether his opponent plays well, nor whether an umpire blows a call that helps or hurts him. In my opinion, sport isn’t about the fans. We’re observers; sport is about the players.

    That said, I recognize that replay is coming. There’s no denying it. Just as steroids will come back in undetectable form, athletes and officials will throw games at the behest of gambling interests, and giant corporate logos will be all over professional athletes in the years to come. There’s too much money on the line for it to go any other way. Sports has gone commercial, and if I’m a purist who’s trapped in the 1800′s, I’m ok with that. I’m also ok with umpires blowing calls.

  27. If the toronto bleu jays had this incident against the lets say baltimore orials they would have been safe.

  28. Well said @Kevin. In addition, I find it hard to believe that constant surveillance in the spirit of fairness is a positive. I like to think that sports – be it baseball hockey, football, basketball, etc. – is best left untouched by cameras. I don’t even like the giant Jumbo-trons at games. It’s like we can’t even sit through two and a half hours of sport without being bombarded endlessly by noise, images, and replay. Technological advancement in the name of safety: necessary and intelligent. Technological advancement in the name of accuracy: neurotic.

  29. “EE was safe. I suspect any Red Sox or Yankee involved in that identical play would have been called safe, especially on home turf. Evil Empires. Fight the power.”

    Rubbish. Why does it have to be a conspiracy against everyone but Boston and NY? Why can’t it just be a blown call that we all know was wrong? This blaming of everything but what it was is truly silly. The call was wrong and there is no reason at all to believe the city had anything to do with it. Boston and NY get blown calls against them all the time too. You’re like my grandmother yelling about the mob being in on every call of every game that is wrong.

  30. it’s funny I was watching a business show and the guy said that old people don’t start up internet companies because they aren’t familiar with technology. so we have a mlb commissioner who’s what 70? do we really expect him to embrace technology more than if we had a 40 year old commissioner?

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