To say the above video constitutes an “ump show” — where the umpires insert themselves into the action, making their actions and decisions the story rather than the performance of the players — does it no justice. If anything, Angel Hernandez wanted no part of any attention from this call, the first of many head-scratching decisions made over the course of the night by Hernandez.
The ball, it appears clear on the myriad replays, left the ballpark. Adam Rosales‘ drive looked to strike a railing above the high wall in left at Progressive Field, making it a homer. The call on the field was “double” and that is what the umpires stuck with, even after watching the video replay.
Video replay, the great panacea. If you don’t want to get the call right, what does it matter how many tools you have at your disposal?
After the home run was ruled a double, Tribe closer conspired to only load the bases without allowing the tying run to score, giving Cleveland a 4-3 victory over the A’s. The game, of course, was already tied with Rosales’ homer, thus Bob Melvin‘s outrage (he clearly saw the replay while the umps reviewed in their pit of despair.)
In keeping with protocol in cases of extreme umpire negligence, the baseball writers on hand nominate a “pool reporter” to speak on behalf of the beat throng and obtain a statement from the umps on the call in question. Last night, after this disaster, BBWAA head Susan Slusser ventured into the umpire’s room to get a statement from crew chief Angel Hernandez on the call in question.
Like a true professional and in no way like a scolded child, Angel Hernandez refused to allow Slusser to record his comments on the call. Which is super weird.
Ump crew chief Angel Hernandez would not allow pool reporter Susan Slusser or Indians pr rep to tape his comments about non-HR. Bush league.
— John Hickey (@JHickey3) May 9, 2013
While he of the bunchiest panties in town Jon Morosi calls for transparency and tosses words like “OUTRAGE” and “INTEGRITY” around, it really makes me wonder about the value of video replay if umpires don’t get it right even when staring at the evidence for a second, third, or fourth time?
Writing the column this morning that sometime in the next 6 hours, MLB should reverse disputed HR call and play the game from pt. it was 4-4
— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) May 9, 2013
Reverse the call? What are the chances that happens? Who benefits from a resumed game, where so many variables change overnight. Sure, the wrong is made right but that is little solace to the Athletics if they can’t score again in the ninth inning redux.
If Hernandez had the same view that CSN/STO viewers had and blew it, he should be fired. If he didn’t, MLB’s review system is a disgrace.
— Craig Calcaterra (@craigcalcaterra) May 9, 2013
Calling for another man to lose his job is a little much for my liking but the second point is valid: what kind of system is in place if they couldn’t get this seemingly open-and-shut case right? What is the answer? If the umps aren’t confident enough to make the calls based on video evidence, should the league take this power from them?
Maybe MLB can set up a hive in New York like the NHL’s replay centre in Toronto, where all replay calls are made with all available video evidence considered by people who may or may not be experienced in doing just that? That just seems too easy, although so did the call last night. MLB finds a way to make the worst out of a good situation, no reason to think that will change today.
And the rest
How many giraffes high can you throw a baseball? [XKCD]
Very important historical study: the history of baseball stadium nachos. [Smithsonian Magazine]
Dear John…Gibbons [DJF]