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Josh Hamilton robbed of a home run when umps refuse to review it

May 20, 2010, 11:16 AM EDT

Hamilton on second.jpgWhat’s the point of having replay review of home runs if the umps aren’t going to use it? Josh Hamilton was credited with a double on this play despite the fact that the ball clearly left the field of play.  It didn’t end up costing the Rangers the game, but it easily could have.

Let me once again make my plea:  put an ump up in the booth with TV monitors and a walkie-talkie.  Such a man could have seen that replay as quickly as the announcing crew did, buzzed the crew chief down on the field and the home run could have been called correctly.

To not do this is to ensure that at some point in the future a game — maybe even a really important game — will turn on a totally avoidable mistake.

  1. J Rose - May 20, 2010 at 11:41 AM

    There was a similar situation in the Red Sox game last night also. Ortiz hit an opposite field shot off the top of the Green Monster. The ball bounced up and then back onto the field of play and Papi had to hustle around the bases and hold up at third. Tito came out and practically pleaded with the umps to review it, they huddled together for a few minutes and finally decided to. Eventually they came out and correctly ruled it a homer.
    But like you said Craig, why the hesitation? This is what the system is for. There should be no hesitation to review disputed HR calls.

  2. Old Gator - May 20, 2010 at 11:48 AM

    I heartily applaud the recalcitrance (favorite word of the day, that; thanks, Hanley) in his refusal to subvert his own imperious authority and introduce automation into a human game. Hamilton will live. Would he be cursing the gods if his home run got rained out? Of course not. The fickle tentacle of fate intrudes in many forms, and rainouts and blown calls are prominent among them. When that important game turns on a blown call, it will enter into baseball folklore, as it rightly should. Keep introducing “innovations” and pretty soon there won’t be any baseball folklore anymore; just an endless sequence of electronically monitored games whose numbers are all that linger and whose human element is as discernible as it might be on a Ceylon battlecruiser. Peh.

  3. Jimmy Marlins Fan - May 20, 2010 at 12:00 PM

    when it costs as much as it does to go to a baseball game…get the calls right…now im not going to sit here and harp on balls and strikes…but homeruns, calls down the line, trapped catch…these are important to get right
    and i dont want to hear any cockamamey nonsense about the human element, dont humans play the game?…aside from barry “bane” bonds

  4. No - May 20, 2010 at 12:02 PM

    What percentage of the historic baseball folklore makes up umpire mistakes at this time? 1%? .1%?
    I’m glad the evolution of the game is dependent on young crocs.
    Umpires will be replaced before I’m dead and the sport will be better off for it.
    ReCAPTCHA – 400,000 botching.. Inculding ball and strike calls, this number is probably not far off from the historical number of Umpire bothces.

  5. Yes sorta - May 20, 2010 at 12:07 PM

    I would submit that blown ball and strike calls have changed way more games than any other type of blown call. The difference between a 2-1 and 1-2 count creates a huge disparity in the likely outcome of an at bat.

  6. Charles Gates - May 20, 2010 at 12:24 PM

    My hyperbole of the day:
    Applauding the ability of incorrect calls to texture the collective memories of our baseball folklore is akin to saying all the falsely incarcerated citizens of this country should remain under lock and key because the ‘innovation’ of DNA evidence which proves their pleas for freedom correct should be ignored so they can remain imprisioned, as to preserve discernability of the human element in the justice system.
    Mistakes do happen. And when they do, we should embrace a new technology to overturn them. An unrighted wrong, one which we easily have the ability to remedy, is far worse than any erosion of our folklore related to the event.

  7. Jimbojones - May 20, 2010 at 12:41 PM

    I don’t understand why they don’t use the college football/nhl method of review that you have mentioned. Why waste the time of having the four umps (one in full body armor) strolling into the bowels of the stadium every time they need to check something. Just let some guy sit in the league office with a giant HDTV watching every game and calling them if there’s an obvious mistake.

  8. scatterbrian - May 20, 2010 at 12:55 PM

    But the human element Craig! By adding more replay technology baseball is going to help Skynet reach self-awareness that much sooner.
    I truly do not understand accepting mistakes as something that adds to the game. Blown calls may have been easier to shrug off back when baseball players were also bagging groceries or selling cars in the off-season. But baseball is now an international, multibillion dollar industry. The stakes are much higher. It sucks that fans accept the efforts of world-class athletes being tainted by some fat-ass who can’t get out to left-center fast enough to do his job properly.

  9. Jimmy Marlins Fan - May 20, 2010 at 1:22 PM

    check that
    i agree with everything scatterbrian just said
    including the first part
    when arnold dies, they will rebuild him, he will be better, stronger, faster
    get to tha chopppppppppa noooooooow!

  10. Dennis - May 20, 2010 at 1:31 PM

    Give each team one challenge per game and have a replay official in the press box who is then allow to buzz down to the field at anytime to review the play. It’s that simply.

  11. Old Gator - May 20, 2010 at 1:59 PM

    See, that equivocation of the grave and constant in human suffering with the ludic world of beisbol is the kind of myopia that sets in when we incarcerate ourselves inside a psychic immunodeficiency bubble like a baseball blog. But at least you admit you are trafficking in hyperbole. I’m relieved.
    Then again, if we were discussing Arizona, you could expect that latterday composite of Medusa and the embalmed Nefertiti who governs said politically and spiritually, as well as meteorologically, desiccated state to sign a bill making it illegal to use DNA evidence to exonerate Mexicans of being illegal immigrants. Just in time for spring training. Old Leather Lips would probably argue that using Mexican DNA was a covert form of affirmative action.
    reCaptcha: Likud traumas. Speaking of moral bankruptcy in a desiccated environment. Synchronicity is laying itself on thick and fast today.

  12. Drew - May 20, 2010 at 1:59 PM

    If mistakes are really good for the game, then we should be looking for ways to create more of them. Otherwise, let’s accept that they’re NOT good for the game, and fix it. Especially when the fix is already there, and it’s being ignored.

  13. Tom Shumaker - May 20, 2010 at 2:04 PM

    Replay was authorized for disputed Home Runs & boundary calls. therefore, if a manager asks for a review, it should be granted, without further discussion. These umps should be fined for thinking they are bigger than the rules. I’m not advocating more video review; just calling for the current video review procedures to be honored.

  14. Bill@TDS - May 20, 2010 at 3:10 PM

    I’m shocked that there isn’t a single comment in this thread arguing for the status quo and the human element and all that.
    Since I just HAVE to have something to argue with, though, I’ll say this — the idea a few posts above about giving each team one challenge a game is, I think, worse than not having replay at all. I’m all for reviewing everything that can possibly be reviewed and getting the calls right…but I don’t believe the managers or teams should have any say at all in what gets reviewed and what doesn’t.

  15. RichardInDallas - May 20, 2010 at 6:51 PM

    I agree partly with those that have suggested that each team should be allowed one challenge per game, with these addendums:
    1-Expand the kinds of allowable review calls, adding traps, runner/tag calls, and HBP.
    2-Allow each team as many challenges as they want, with the caveat that an incorrect challenge will result in an out being assesed (not to any player, but to the team). The challenges would become few and far between, NOT because of teams’ fear of the assesed out, but because umpires would cease sucking, so as not to ever be known as the one who has eight successful challenges against him in one game!

  16. Charles Gates - May 20, 2010 at 8:43 PM

    But, you didn’t actually disagree with me there. My point, first paragraph aside, is that the folklore of the game is driven by its perceived sanctity. Why are PEDs a bigger deal in baseball than in football? Baseball has a purity associated with it that other sports don’t. I’m not saying that it’s right. We both know the reasons why the art has dust on its frame, but it’s believed to be so. And that belief is what breeds the folklore. Belief that it’s right, not just that it happened.
    Imagine if Carlton Fisk’s shot, despite his yearning, was actually foul, but called a homerun by the umpiring crew. This wouldn’t be folklore. It would be a travesty. The few minutes it would take to review the call and get it right would admittedly take away from the liveliness of the play, but I believe less so than if it were allowed to live on in its falsity.

  17. Old Gator - May 21, 2010 at 1:11 AM

    Okay then, let me atone for my previous ellipticity of argument and disagree head-on. Imagine Fisk jumping up and down, waving frantically at the ball, having it go fair and be called foul…and instead of leaping for joy, being frozen in shock and blind white fury and landing stolidly with a thud while Cincinnati players swarmed past him and piled up on the pitcher’s mound. Just think of that photo-op of Fisk’s rich, multi-layered mix of emotions, of that look on his face. The sheer pathos of the moment, with all of its inherent injustice, would be captured forever.
    Let’s face it, as things stand now you just about have to watch the entire process of watching Fisk jumping around like a toad with a bee stuck in his ass, from the ball leaving the bat until he leaps with joy and begins to run the bases. Who has that kind of time anymore? When was the last time you sat through a three hour movie epic? They don’t make them anymore because as a culture we’re too damned stupid and lazy to assimilate something so complex and temporally dilated. So it goes. It would mesh far more efficiently with our cultural bias towards impatience and faux brevity to have that single still of Fisk with some look of monstrous bewilderment on his face than to have to endure yet another interminable unspooling of his solo mosh moves. The World Series that was decided by a blown call, summed up in one occult instant of unmitigated horror. What could be more classic?

  18. Charles Gates - May 21, 2010 at 7:53 AM

    They don’t make them anymore because as a culture we’re too damned stupid and lazy to assimilate something so complex and temporally dilated.
    I never thought I’d hear an argument from you which is based on the needs of the TPN watching masses. I tend to be inclined to favor the side that’s right. Factually speaking, mind you, and not the side that may make us feel good for a split second while supplying a good photo opp. My way costs us a Sports Illustrated cover, jinx and all, but gives the historical glory – folklore even – to the team/player that actually earned it.
    recaptcha: upend you

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