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Umpires use replay on controversial Matt Joyce home run

May 19, 2013, 6:05 PM EST

Matt Joyce AP

In the top of the sixth inning of today’s series finale in Baltimore, Rays right fielder Matt Joyce blasted a 3-2 fastball down the right field line, initially ruled a double by the umpires. Watching it live, it seemed to go foul, but when reviewed in slow motion, it was clear that the ball caromed off a metal pole just above the yellow line atop the fence — a home run. Orioles manager Buck Showalter came out to argue the ruling, and shortly thereafter, Rays manager Joe Maddon came out to argue his case as well.

The wrench: if it is ruled a double, the umpires cannot use replay review. Thus, Showalter was arguing that it was foul, and Maddon was arguing that it was a home run rather than a double. The umpires conferred, then left the field to look at the tape. When they emerged, Joyce — still standing on second — was allowed to circle the bases to complete his newly-awarded home run, his eighth of the season. Oddly enough, if Showalter had not come out to dispute the original ruling of a double, Maddon would not have argued for the home run.

Joyce’s home run gave the Rays a 3-1 lead, which they would hold on to for the win, completing the weekend sweep of the Orioles.

  1. rmcd13 - May 19, 2013 at 6:26 PM

    Glad they got this one right, but there is a much easier way to do this: Have all plays automatically reviewed by someone in the press box (like college football). It will save time and ensure that most calls are correct.

    • gloccamorra - May 19, 2013 at 11:13 PM

      I agree with one detail: remove the baseball writers from the scorer’s table and have a senior umpire score the game and review the replays from the press box. Baseball writers handing out hits and errors on guys they have relationships with and write about is a conflict of interest, and having an umpire scoring the game and making rulings on replay-able plays is faster than having umpires on the field call time and disappear for five minutes or more. It’s so simple even a cave man could see the logic, but I’m not sure Bud Selig has evolved enough.

      • Kevin S. - May 20, 2013 at 7:19 AM

        Since when is the official scorer a writer? I thought he was a team employee.

      • fredverd - May 20, 2013 at 7:43 AM

        One hundred percent agree! One major change from my constant viewing of MLB years ago to today’s games is the way hits/errors are scored. My eyes are older now, but the scoring used to be much harsher. If you got to the ball and didn’t make the play it was –plain and simple– an error. Nowadays everything is murky…”official” scorers make capricious decisions, sometimes to the point of wonderment. Homecooking lasts forever in the record books…

  2. connormyboy - May 19, 2013 at 6:35 PM

    It might of been a easier call if they painted the rest of that foul pole but glad Rays swept the O’s.

  3. dondada10 - May 19, 2013 at 6:38 PM

    Glad they got it right.

  4. indaburg - May 19, 2013 at 6:48 PM

    During the post-game interview, Maddon said he was arguing with the umpires because the umps said if they reviewed the play to determine if it was a home run, they could overturn the double and call it a foul ball. Maddon said that the umpires did not have that option. They could either allow the call on the field to stand–the double–or rule it a home run. I’m not sure about that. I was looking up the rules myself but there’s a lot of pages, and I’m really tired: http://mlb.mlb.com/mlb/downloads/y2013/official_baseball_rules.pdf

    Does anyone know the answer?

    • dondada10 - May 19, 2013 at 7:31 PM

      I think you’re right, Maddon was wrong, and he jedied the umps.

    • djpostl - May 19, 2013 at 8:03 PM

      I think Maddon was correct.

      There is no allowance for replay on fair or foul balls that aren’t homeruns.

      They could review the play to see if it hit high enough & was fair or foul in regards to it being a homerun only.

      If they ruled it didn’t hit high enough to be called a homerun then the play on the field should stand.

      Only caveat would be if using replay to determine a homerun “opens the door” for them ruling on other elements. If the rules have that kind of language then obviously everything they see is fair game.

  5. southofheaven81 - May 19, 2013 at 7:19 PM

    For some reason as I read this recap this was all I could picture:

  6. DelawarePhilliesFan - May 19, 2013 at 9:32 PM

    “The wrench: if it is ruled a double, the umpires cannot use replay review. ”

    What about Hunter Pence two years ago? That was originally ruled a double, and replay was used to calll it intereference, thus he was out.

    http://espn.go.com/mlb/story/_/id/6933360/umpire-joe-west-was-right-call-hunter-pence-fan-interference-former-umpire-says

  7. Walk - May 19, 2013 at 11:51 PM

    There was a similar situation earlier this year in san Francisco. I cannot remember the batter, I think it was posey, but he hit a drive to left. Justin upton stretches up for it leaving his feet and a fan reaches onto the field and hangs his glove in front of upton and catching the ball. Replays clearly show it. The fan is escorted from the stadium and while this is going on it is noted that this is the same fan who has done this on more than one occasion. The umpires review the play and call it a double. I still do not know why they did not call fan interference. It was a boundary line play. It took replay to tell it would not have been a hr. The only thing I can think of is that they decided since it did not go over it was not a boundary line call. The interference was obvious. The more I see replay used the more it is starting to become clear that the strictest interpretations are being used to keep from having to change a play. Joe torre was speaking earlier to day and he stated that the game is not perfect. That is true, but perfection should be the goal not an excuse for failing.

    • bobulated - May 20, 2013 at 1:39 AM

      It was Scutaro and you’re right, the fan clearly reached into the field of play. But the umps said since Upton’s back was against the wall there was no guarantee he would have caught it anyways which IMHO was kind of a easy BS way to just let it stand.

      • Walk - May 20, 2013 at 7:41 AM

        If he had a chance to make the play, and I think he did, then it is interference. Luckily while that call did not lead to a run it did cause more pitches to be thrown and changed the order of batters faced. I think the umpires are doing well with replay but they need to get on the same page. Delawarephilliesfan linked almost the same situation as the scutaro double and joe west ruled that play interference. I as a fan am still learning what can and cant be overturned on replay, unfortunately I am not alone as the umpires seem to be in the same boat.

  8. moogro - May 20, 2013 at 1:56 AM

    The unpainted section of the foul pole was really weird.

  9. freerayray52 - May 20, 2013 at 5:22 PM

    The umps made the wrong call. Oddly enough the black section of the foul pole is in play at OPACY.

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