Blown Call of the Decade: Kerwin Danley
Being an umpire in Major League Baseball is though and unlike other major sports instant replay does not benefit them because it is not used. In fact when talk of adding it has been brought up it immediately is struck down because the thought is that it takes away the human element of the game and it would slow the game down.
Baseball is a long game already so the argument that the game would be longer doesn't sit right. The second part is that yes there's a human element to the game, but when it costs a team a win or momentum in a game that's when instant replay needs to become available.
A team should not lose because an umpire blew a call. It happened last year with Matt Holliday who was called safe at home when the Oakland A's had come back from a big deficit, but the reality is Holliday was out.
Even last year in the playoffs it happened when the Minnesota Twins were taking on the New York Yankees. Joe Mauer hit the ball down into the left field corner, and the ball landed right on the chalk, which means fair ball, instead Phil Cuzzi ruled the ball foul.
Even with those two examples it doesn't even compare to the biggest missed call of the decade. This one again involved the New York Yankees, but they were taking on the Oakland A's in Oakland.
It's time to go back and look at the play itself.
Pitching: Mike Mussina
Mike Mussina was on the mound in the bottom of the 7th inning facing Terrence Long. Jeremy Giambi had just gotten on with a single into right field.
Batting: Terrence Long
Long came up after Giambi had singled and hit a rocket down the right field line sending Giambi scurrying around the bases.
Right Fielder: Shane Spencer
Shane Spencer raced after the ball and got to it very quickly cause the ball was hit hard. He then threw to the plate, but his throw sailed over both cutoff men.
Shortstop: Derek Jeter
Since the ball went past both the cutoff men, Jeter immediately realized what he had to do he raced over towards the first base side of the diamond to retrieve the ball and flipped the ball to catcher Jorge Posada.
Catcher: Jorge Posada
Posada receives the flip from Jeter and attempts to tag Giambi's right leg, but the ball was behind Posada, so he was uanble to tag Giambi's right leg and instead he had to make the tag on the left leg instead. But, it really was all for not even though Posada missed the tag, Kerwin Danley the home plate umpire called Giambi out.
Umpire: Kerwin Danley
Kerwin Danley called Jeremy Giambi out on the play. My theory is that because Jeter had made an incredible play the Yankees got the benefit of the doubt. If the A's had made a play like that and it was a Yankee player running from first and Miguel Tejada had made a flip like Jeter's and Ramon Hernandez had made a tag like Posada did, the Yankees runner would have been safe, but since it's the Yankees the play was ruled out.
The problem is the call was wrong. Even when watching the video which can be seen at this link http://mlb.mlb.com/video/play.jsp?content_id=3113172, you can see that the call was wrong.
Giambi: Back View of Supposed Tag by Posada
The claim was that Posada was able to tag the right leg of Giambi which would have been physically impossible for him because Posada would have to reach behind him to make the tag as you can see when he caught the ball it was behind Giambi's leg so the only way to make the tag would have been to put his arm back, but that did not happen.
Also, not that Giambi's foot is already straight down stepping on the plate. So, if there's no tag on Giambi right now that means he's safe, not out. The front view of the play will prove that.
Front View of Posada's actual tag
If the claim was that Posada had tagged Giambi on the right leg why is it that Posada is attempting to tag Giambi's left leg? As you saw from the picture before with the back view there was no tag made on the right leg. As the picture shows, Giambi's foot is clearly down before the tag was made by Posada.
We'll never know what would have happened if the A's had tied the game up 1-1. If the A's had gone on to win the game the A's would have advanced past the American League Division Series, but instead the A's were sent home because the Yankees won that game and the next two.
Congratulations to Kerwin Danley on the Biggest Screwup of the Decade
The play by Jeter is known now as the infamous "the flip" in all honesty it should have been the play that resulted in baseball bringing in instant replay. What's even more sad is that the media and Yankees fans will soak it up and believe it's one of the greatest plays of all-time especially in the playoffs.
When in actuality the actual call is one of the biggest missed call in postseason history.