Replay might not have changed call in Marlins game

Instant replay might not have changed the call that cost the

Florida Marlins a game.

The Marlins were still shaking their heads Friday about the

decision, made Thursday night after third-base umpire Bob Davidson

ruled a sharp grounder by Gaby Sanchez was a foul ball rather than

a game-winning RBI hit in the ninth inning against

Philadelphia.

After watching a replay, Davidson insisted he had the call

correct.

”That’s the part that really gets me,” Marlins third baseman

Wes Helms said. ”Whoever has talked about it has said it’s clearly

a fair ball. It’s pretty much him against everybody else.”

With no replay angle showing conclusively whether the ball

passed over the third-base bag – which would make it fair –

observers were left to dissect the path of Sanchez’s grounder. It

bounced on the foul line before reaching the base, then bounced

inside the line behind third.

Despite those hops in fair territory, Davidson ruled the ball

foul.

”How could he call it foul when the ball landed fair just

before it went into the outfield grass?” Marlins third base coach

Joe Espada said. ”That was what I couldn’t figure out.”

Hanley Ramirez was at second base, poised to race home with the

winning run. Instead, the Marlins failed to score in the inning,

and the Phillies – in the thick of the NL playoff race – won 5-4 in

10 innings.

Marlins manager Edwin Rodriguez pleaded for Davidson to consult

with the rest of his crew about the call, but the umpire declined.

Rodriguez said he became so angry he cursed at Davidson.

”For less than what I did, I’ve been thrown out in the minor

leagues,” said Rodriguez, a first-year big-league manager. ”The

fact he didn’t throw me out gave me a reason to believe he knew he

was wrong.”

The episode renewed debate about replays in baseball. Partly in

jest, Helms said he changed his mind about the use of video review

by umpires.

”I’ve always been against it,” Helms said, ”but dang, it cost

us the game – I’m for it. … A lot of games could be changed

because of it. You want the right call, because it will be a fair

game.”

Rodriguez said replay should be used on any call with the game

on the line. But as Davidson noted, camera angles leave room for

debate about the kind of ruling he had to make.

”There’s no replay that you can really see what the ball does

over the bag, and that’s what’s important,” the umpire said. ”But

I know what I saw.”