I’ve known Bob Melvin since his playing days in Baltimore almost 25 years ago, he’s smart, reasonable and a damn good manager. Wednesday night in Cleveland the Oakland manager was asked to leave the building. His sin was simply a question that most of us wanted to ask umpire crew chief Angel Hernandez, “what the hell are you guys looking at!”.
With Melvin’s A’s down 4-3 in the 9th inning, Oakland’s Adam Rosales hit a deep fly ball to left center that appeared to clear the wall for a home run and tie the game at 4. Not so fast my friend! The umpires ruled the ball didn’t leave the park and Rosales was stopped at 2nd base with a double. Enter skipper Melvin who asked the umpires and was granted a video replay review.
While 3 of the 4 umpires left the field to do their video review, us TV fans were shown an assortment of replays that clearly showed the ball went over the wall before it was deflected by a railing. So the free world knew it was a home run, game tied at 4. We did until Hernandez and crew re-entered the field and signaled double. What! Melvin like the rest of us was shocked and immediately thrown out of the game.
I don’t have a problem with the crew missing the call the first time but after seeing multiple replay angles they stuck to their original horrible call. C’mon Angel I try to stick up for you boys in blue but this was God awful. Major League Baseball admits the crew blew the call. Angel Hernandez told the pool reporter that had access to him after the game that what the umpires saw on their screen wasn’t enough to change the call. Hey Angel was it a black and white, 8-inch with rabbit ears? You sure you 3 weren’t watching The Three Stooges? Brutal!
Baseball was extremely slow to introduce video replay to fans that have been peppered with it in every other major sport. This week a national sports poll showed that nearly 70% of fans favor expanded replay in baseball. Wednesday night the latest reminder that no matter how much modern technology creeps into our games the human element can still screw it up.