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Detective Sam Holbrook botches the call

Jul 20, 2012, 7:35 PM EDT

Sam Holbrook

Sam Holbrook may have had the right idea, but it just didn’t do him any good.

In the first inning of Friday’s Blue Jays-Red Sox game, Edwin Encarnacion hit a grounder to third with Colby Rasmus on third base. Will Middlebrooks decided to throw home to try to retire Rasmus on the play, and though the throw was late, it looked like Kelly Shoppach successful blocked a sliding Rasmus from reaching the plate.

Holbrook, though, was positioned behind the play and had no way of telling whether Rasmus was able to swipe the plate with his hand. Screened off, Holbrook did the only thing he could think of; he went to check the dirt in front of the plate to see try to ascertain whether Rasmus touched home plate.

Here’s the video.

From the swipe mark in the clay, Holbrook decided that, yes, Rasmus touched home plate. Replay, though, made it pretty clear that what he really touched was Shoppach’s shin guard.

I don’t blame Holbrook here. Like pretty much every home plate umpire in every major league game, he’s in an awful position to try to make that call, and given his view, he made the best judgment he could. If only he or someone else could have gone to the cameras instead, it would have been case closed.

  1. missthemexpos - Jul 20, 2012 at 7:51 PM

    Come on Baseball, join the 21st. century and allow each team one challenge per game.

    • wintwins - Jul 20, 2012 at 8:11 PM

      I’d rather avoid the rules and complications that come with limited challenges. Just give the refs cameras: an extra guy viewing the cameras, the ability to consult the cameras, whatever. When a close call arises, they shouldn’t be at more of a disadvantage than the fans watching at home.

      • nothanksimdriving123 - Jul 20, 2012 at 11:51 PM

        Dear win: How many times do I have to explain to you people that the fact that several thousand fans paid to see this game scientifically proves that no one in the world wants expanded replay. It would lead to such unacceptable results as getting more calls correct and improving the integrity of the game. Oh, and next year we’ll determine home field for the World Series by having the managers of each league’s last place team have a bubble blowing contest.
        sincerely,
        Bud Light

  2. proudlycanadian - Jul 20, 2012 at 7:51 PM

    Makes up for a play earlier in the season when Rasmus was safe at home but was called out. Rasmus was on third with a triple. In the second inning his double drove in 2 runs. He is half the way to a cycle.

    • proudlycanadian - Jul 20, 2012 at 8:46 PM

      Every team has bad calls go against them. They are supposed to even out over the season; however, all fans sincerely believe that their team got shafted over the entire season.

    • proudlycanadian - Jul 20, 2012 at 10:25 PM

      Get over it Sox fans. Save your thumbs down for Beckett.

  3. royhobbs39 - Jul 20, 2012 at 8:04 PM

    From the replay, it appears he was not even blocked. It was just a bad call.

    • dan1111 - Jul 21, 2012 at 3:10 AM

      Looks pretty well blocked to me. I have no problem with the runner getting the benefit of the doubt in this call, since the catcher is not supposed to be blocking the plate anyway.

      • jon623 - Jul 21, 2012 at 2:29 PM

        …Nope. Catcher’s (and all fielders) are entitled to begin to set up once the ball is in flight if there is an eminent play. It’s a common grey area in baseball (same as the strike zone, balks, and “neighborhood” calls for fielders at bases), but the catcher, and any fielder, has the right to block the plate (or base) when they have the ball or are in the process of catching the ball. Obviously, this gets stretched and ignored and umpires suck.

  4. proudlycanadian - Jul 20, 2012 at 10:15 PM

    Since the final score was 6 to 1, the play did not cost the Red Sox the game.

  5. jon623 - Jul 21, 2012 at 10:38 AM

    Please tell me that somebody is going to put together an umpire compilation video at the end of this season… that or Ashton Kutcher is going to jump out and tell us we’ve all been punked. Or, both. Both would be good.

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