Baseball Says Umpires’ Error on Home-Run Call Won’t Change ScoreErik Matuszewski
An “improper call” by umpires disallowing a game-tying home run by the Oakland Athletics against the Cleveland Indians won’t wipe out the Indians’ victory, Major League Baseball said.
The umpiring crew determined video-replay evidence wasn’t convincing enough to overturn the on-field ruling of a double, a mistake that negated a home run by Oakland’s Adam Rosales with two outs in the top of the ninth inning of the Athletics’ 4-3 loss at Cleveland last night.
Because it was a judgment call by the umpires, the decision is final, as is the result of the game, MLB Vice President for Baseball Operations Joe Torre said in a statement today.
“We recognize that an improper call was made,” Torre said. “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 the A’s trailing 4-3, Rosales hit a ball off Indians reliever Chris Perez that hit a metal railing several feet above the left-field fence and ricocheted onto the field. Second-base umpire Angel Hernandez ruled it a double that hit below the yellow boundary line atop the wall, and the three other umpires concurred with Hernandez’s call after leaving the field to review video replay.
“By rule, the decision to reverse a call by use of instant replay is at the sole discretion of the crew chief,” Torre said. “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.”
When the umpires returned and told Rosales to remain at second base, Athletics manager Bob Melvin raced onto the field to argue the call and was ejected from the game by Hernandez. Melvin said he was told by the umpires that the replay was inconclusive, though video from the telecast showed the ball cleared the 19-foot outfield fence.
“The only four people in the ballpark that could say that’s inconclusive,” Melvin told reporters after the game. “I don’t know what the explanation would be when everyone else in the ballpark knew it was a home run. I looked at it later, clearly it hit the railing behind. I’m at a complete loss.”
Torre said home and away broadcast feeds are available for all instant replays. Both were available to the crew at last night’s game, he said.
Perez hit a batter and issued a walk to load the bases before retiring Seth Smith for the final out, dropping the A’s to 18-17 on the season.
“We know how important it is every game,” said Rosales, who last season was part of an Oakland team that won its last six games to capture the American League West division title by one game over Texas. “We found that out last year, with how important every game is. It’s tough.”
The ruling helped Cleveland win its third straight game and improve to 17-14.
“Luckily, the call came in our favor,” Perez was quoted as saying by MLB.com. “I don’t think I’ve ever been on the other side of a replay like that, but I’ve definitely been on the other side of bad calls and missed strikes and stuff like that. It’s part of the game. We’ll definitely take it.”