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By Matt McCoy
Umpires can be excused for most of their mistakes...they're human. But there's no excuse for what happened in Cleveland Wednesday night. It benefited the Tribe but even long time Indians announcer Tom Hamilton was incredulous after Angel Hernandez did not change a blown home run call that would have tied the Indians/A's game at 4.
"Are you kidding me?...I don't know how you miss that call," Hamilton said on air.
To set the scene, the Tribe led 4-3, with two gone in the ninth when Adam Rosales' deep drive to left looked to be a home run, but the ball bounced onto the field and was ruled a double. To the naked eye, it was a reasonable call--the ball appeared to bounce off the top of the wall.
Since home run calls are reviewable, A's manager Bob Melvin asked that the umpires check the replay. What those replays showed to TV viewers, fans, players, radio announcers--EVERYONE---was that the ball was over the wall but hit the railing above the fence and ricocheted onto the field. It was obvious...but not to Hernandez and his crew. They called the replay inconclusive, Rosales stayed at second base and after flirting with more trouble in the inning, Indians closer Chris Perez got the final out preserving a 4-3 win.
"The only four people in the ball park that could say that's inconclusive," Melvin said of the umpires who tossed him from the game for arguing after the review. "Everybody else said it was a home run, including (the Indians) announcers. I don't get it. I don't know what the explaination would be when everyone else in the ball park knew it was a home run."
I love baseball but one major problem is the the umpires union...It's seemingly untouchable. There's little or no repercussions when umpires make obvious mistakes or act unprofessionally. Thier jobs are safe and they know it.
No one is perfect, I know that and I'm not suggesting umpires should be--but there's no excuse for missing a call on a replay review....especially a game changing call like this in the ninth inning. The irony is that Melvin, who was correct but dared to challenge the umpires, got ejected from the game. Someone at Major League Baseball needs to eject Hernandez and this crew for a few games for incompetence...but I won't hold my breath.