I had a ticket to spot 7 of the standing room section behind Section 229. The view was fine, the crowd was electric and the game was, simply put, one of the best games — if not the best — I’ve seen live. I missed but one play, and apparently it was a controversial one.
Leading off the 11th inning, Joe Mauer lofty a Damaso Marte offering down the left field. From where I was standing, the ball kept slicing and slicing and then…it and Melky Cabrera disappeared from view. Phil Cuzzi called it a foul ball, and I breathed a sigh of relief. That no one came out to argue was telling. The ball, I assumed, was foul, and it was not until after the game, when my dad said, “Joe Mauer’s ball was fair,” that I had any idea the call was in doubt.
As we all know now, that ball hit fair territory by a good six inches, and Phil Cuzzi, the left field ump whose sole job it was to make that call, blew it. After the game, the umpires were verklempt. “We just feel horribly when that happens,” Crew Cheif Tim Tschida said to reporters after the game. “There’s a guy sitting over there in the umpire’s dressing room right now that feels horrible.”
The Twins bemoaned the call. Noting how a lead-off double could have changed the entire complexion of the 11th inning, Minnesota manager Ron Gardenhire was incredulous. “We had six umpires out there, I think. I think, right, six? Six umpires,” he sputtered.
Since Cuzzi’s call and the subsequent shut-down relief work of David Robertson, nearly everyone baseball news outlet has called for expanded instant replay. We have, for example,Anthony Rieber and Brian Costa calling for just that, and Buster Olney thinks more instant replay would be a good fit for baseball. Even an NFL VP mocked baseball’s officiating.
The Yankees, meanwhile, think otherwise. As Marc Carig reported, Girardi is a-OK with the current state of replay in baseball. “I think it would break the rhythm of the game. Where would you stop?” he asked earlier today.
Girardi asks a good question: Where would you stop? With balls that go out of play, the answer is easy. Had instant replay review been used last night, Joe Mauer would have been awarded a ground rule double. But what if the ball had hit the side wall and stayed in play? If the foul call is overturned, where does Mauer end up — on second base or back in the batter’s box?
I’ve been a long-time proponent of instant replay review in baseball. If we have the technology to make the right call, we should use it. But although Buster Olney calls for the “immediate” expansion of instant replay, it isn’t that easy. The Commissioner’s Office will have to figure just how to deal with overturned calls. Unlike in football when the review is after the play, in baseball, plays unfold differently if a ball is fair. How baseball addresses that problem will determine whether or not the sport can effectively employ instant replay review. There is a very real chance it cannot.
Although this is tagged an open thread, I’d love to see a discussion about instant replay. Still, anything goes. Please use this game thread for Cardinals/Dodgers chatter. And play nice.