A bit of posturing on the part of Orioles manager Buck Showalter cost his team two bases and a run Sunday, after Showalter argued that a double by Matt Joyce should have been called foul — and it was instead ruled a home run after review.
The play happened with one out in the top of the sixth inning, with the Rays leading 2-1. Joyce, a left-handed batter, hooked a line drive down the right-field line and strolled into second with a stand-up double after the ball, which appeared to hit near the top of the wall, was ruled fair.
Showalter then emerged from the Orioles dugout to protest the call, which led Rays manager Joe Maddon to come out in his own defense. After a lengthy discussion with both managers, the umpiring crew decided to review the play — which, by rule, means someone (probably Maddon) argued that the ball had actually cleared the fence.
After checking the replay, the umpires determined that the ball was neither a double nor a foul ball, but actually, a home run that had hit a metal stanchion between the top of the wall and the bottom of the foul pole. Here’s how the call in question went down (with multiple replays confirming that the umpires made the right call in the end):
Major League Baseball is actually looking into expanding replay to also include fair/foul calls in the future, but for now, a play can only be reviewed if it’s a question of whether a hit is a home run or not.
"Buck wanted to know whether the ball was, in fact, fair," crew chief Gerry Davis told the Baltimore Sun. "We got together as a crew to discuss whether the ball was fair or foul, whether any of us had anything differently than [first-base ump Dan Iassogna] had. We did not. So the ruling on the field was that it was a fair ball in play.
"Joe wanted to review to see if it was a home run, but only if the consequences were not the possibility of it being a foul ball. He thought the only thing possible was it being a fair-ball play, which would have been a double, or a home run.
"That’s not true. If we go to replay, whatever we ascertain from the replay is the call we make. So a foul ball is a possibility in that situation. That was the delay, because that’s what I was telling him, that if we go to replay, that’s possibly what could happen."
Maddon only appeared to argue his case after Showalter did the same, so the case could probably be made that Showalter cost himself that run when he came out to bicker about an unreviewable call. Tampa Bay would go on to win the game 3-1, and you can’t help but wonder if, next time, Showalter might just settle for a double.