May 9, 2013
On Wednesday night, the Oakland Athletics were denied a game-tying home run in the ninth inning against the Cleveland Indians after the umpire crew ruled it wasn't a homer on the field and refused to overrule the call after consulting replay.
By rule, the decision to reverse a call by use of instant replay is at the sole discretion of the crew chief. In the opinion of Angel Hernandez, who was last night's crew chief, there was not clear and convincing evidence to overturn the decision on the field. It was a judgment call, and as such, it stands as final.
Home and away broadcast feeds are available for all uses of instant replay, and they were available to the crew last night. Given what we saw, we recognize that an improper call was made. Perfection is an impossible standard in any endeavor, but our goal is always to get the calls right. Earlier this morning, we began the process of speaking with the crew to thoroughly review all the circumstances surrounding last night's decision.
With two outs in the top of the ninth inning, A's shortstop Adam Rosales appeared to have hit a home run that would have tied the game at four runs apiece. Replays from both teams' broadcasts clearly indicate the ball left the park, yet the crew called the evidence inconclusive.
The Indians would go on to win the game, 4-3. Here's video from the play in question.
You can't blame Hernandez and his crew for initially missing the call. It was a close play and would have been nearly impossible for the naked eye from distance to tell that the ball hit the railing.
But how in the world they decided the evidence was inconclusive on replay, when the ball clearly changes its trajectory before hitting the yellow stripe, is hard to fathom.
The point of replay is to get these calls right. Common sense would suggest that a ball changing trajectory before reaching the yellow stripe could safely be called a home run. Now, Torre finds himself in the precarious position of admitting the call was wrong but upholding it nonetheless because it is a judgement call in the rulebook.
What a mess, and what a shame that the Athletics were denied a run that would have, at the very least, extended the game.
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