Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Umpire's Two Blown Calls Didn't Guarantee a's Loss

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Umpire's Two Blown Calls Didn't Guarantee a's Loss

Article excerpt

Here's something you might not know about the infamous Angel Hernandez game Wednesday night in Cleveland: The A's had a great chance to win the game even after Hernandez and his fellow umpires twice blew the call on what would have been a game-tying home run.

Chris Perez, the Indians' closer, was so rattled by the confusing scene that played out around him that he hit the next batter, Eric Sogard, and walked the one after him, John Jaso, loading the bases. But when the game was truly on the line, Perez got Seth Smith to ground back to the mound to preserve the 4-3 victory Wednesday night in Cleveland.

Are we supposed to throw that out because the game would have been tied had Adam Rosales' two-out homer counted instead of being ruled to have hit off the fence?

That's what a lot of critics would have had MLB do -- make it 4- 4 in the ninth, as if Rosales' ball had been called a home run -- and pick up the game from there Thursday. Really? We're going to start changing history because instant replay doesn't always work?

And MLB is supposed to overhaul the replay system because Hernandez, who was serving as acting crew chief with Dana DeMuth taking time off, was in a hurry and didn't do his job?

That's just as silly.

MLB's current replay system is limited in scope but sufficient in design. If anything, Hernandez's boneheaded ruling that Rosales' ball didn't clear the wall reveals the folly of trying to take the humanity out of a human endeavor.

There's no perfect system, as everyone who ever has had a computer hard drive crash should know.

Joe Torre, who is commissioner Bud Selig's top on-field assistant, got it right in his statement Thursday. He confirmed that Hernandez and the other umpires got it wrong but said it was a judgment call -- making it different from the rules interpretation in the George Brett pine tar game -- and thus not subject to after- the-fact reversal.

The last time we saw Torre talking about a controversial call, his viewpoint was wrong. He defended umpire Sam Holbrook after his blown infield-fly-rule call contributed greatly to the Braves' elimination in the wild-card playoff against the Cardinals in October. …

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