Another night of MLB action, another night of mystifying umpiring calls in critical situations.
The officials working at Coors Field on Thursday night took incompetency to new heights by wronging both the Colorado Rockies and San Diego Padres. On the same play (via MLB.com).
Let's set the scene. Bases loaded with one out, top of the 12th inning, score tied at 5-5. Yasmani Grandal versus Manny Corpas.
Grandal hits a high chopper down the third-base line. Nolan Arenado's eyes light up. He's looking to exploit the catcher's below-average wheels and turn a double play so that the Rockies can escape the jam unscathed. In his excitement, the rookie blatantly releases the ball before stepping on the bag for the force out (blown call No. 1). The ensuing throw to first beats Grandal by half a step, but Ed Hickox spreads his arms for the "safe" gesture (blown call No. 2).
So Chase Headley ends up scoring the game-winning run as a result of this mess. He would have done so even if the umps weren't blind, but that doesn't make this excusable.
Imagine that the Padres were trailing in an earlier inning as opposed to being tied in extras. The difference between runners on first and second with two outs (this crew's decision) and runners on second and third with two outs (what they should have called) could have been pivotal.
Jim Joyce—coincidentally the second-base umpire for this game—spoiled Armando Gallaraga's bid for a perfect game in 2010 will an eerily similar screw-up. Major League Baseball did nothing then and it won't now. At least not immediately.
According to Ronald Blum of the Associated Press, Bud Selig and his buddies will explore expanded replay for 2014. Everything except balls and strikes is on the table. Since 2008, only questionable home run calls have been subject to video review.
The glacial pace of this technological movement is a travesty. During a season in which Angel Hernandez has been nearly as prominent as Miguel Cabrera or Matt Harvey, the fans deserve an improved system in time for the 2013 playoffs.
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