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MLB admits umpires goofed on reviewed home run call

The A's should have been given a home run Wednesday in the ninth, MLB said

CLEVELAND — Baseball admitted Thursday afternoon what the world knew Wednesday night: The call that took a home run from Oakland’s Adam Rosales against the Indians was wrong.

“Given what we saw, we recognize that an improper call was made,” MLB executive vice president Joe Torre said in a statement released Thursday. “Perfection is an impossible standard in any endeavor, but our goal is always to get the calls right.”

Perfection is one thing. Angel Hernandez’s decision following a replay review took mere common sense.

Because, though Hernandez said he never saw a conclusive replay of the ninth inning “double,” there were plenty played on many broadcasts throughout the evening. The call became the main post on many websites, and had former major leaguer Chipper Jones posting his “displeasure” with Hernandez on Twitter. Even the Indians TV and radio announcers recognized the hit should have been a game-tying home run and not a double.

“We saw what we saw last night,” A’s manager Bob Melvin said after Oakland’s 9-2 loss on Thursday. “Before the statement was made we had a pretty good idea that was the case.”

It was tough to tell live whether the ball was a home run or was hit off the yellow padded tape at the top of the 19-foot wall in left field. But replays clearly showed the ball hit a railing a few feet above the wall before ricocheting back onto the field.

Baseball added replay for just such a call, to be sure home runs were ruled properly. In this case, there seemed little chance it would not be called a home run, yet it wasn’t.

Melvin argued and was immediately ejected. He also could not protest the result because baseball does not allow games to be protested if a replay is involved.
Randy Marsh, MLB’s director of umpires, was in Cleveland Thursday, presumably for a meeting with Hernandez and crew.

Torre said MLB would “thoroughly review all the circumstances” surrounding the decision.

Torre also said the baseball rules give only the crew chief — Hernandez — the discretion to change a call. Because it was a judgment call, the result stands. Even with poor judgment.

“I respect Joe and his statement,” Indians manager Terry Francona said. “Glad it stands. All you can ask is guys to do the best they can. They went and checked and obviously it wasn’t conclusive on what they saw, so you move on. Those things have a way of evening out. There’s plenty of nights I know I’ll go home and not sleep. Sometimes those things happen.”

Francona said he had not gone back to view a replay.

The A’s know what a single game means because they made the playoffs by a game a year ago, on the last day of the season. A missed call like that could affect them — though not as much as being swept in a four-game series.

“What happened last night shouldn’t affect today,” Melvin said. “They just beat us. … I don’t know why it would affect our confidence that a call was blown. I really don’t. Just means the call was blown.”

Francona and Melvin both said it’s not realistic to think the ruling should have been changed and the game restarted at 4-4.

“Can’t do that,” Francona said. “Not ‘cause we won. The rule’s in place and you can’t change rules. Just do the best you can.”

“There’d been calls before that have been missed and nothing’s happened because of it,” Melvin said.

Hernandez has had incidents in the past where his calls have been questioned. He umpired behind the plate in Cleveland’s win on Tuesday, and many hitters left the batter’s box perplexed at his strike zone.

As the second-base umpire Wednesday, Hernandez made the initial ruling of a double. As crew chief, he backed his ruling following the review.

After further review, baseball ruled both rulings wrong.