Four Major League Baseball umpires — supposedly among the best in the world at the profession of baseball officiating — blew an easy call in last night’s game between the Cleveland Indians and Oakland Athletics. And it cost one team the game.
Trailing 4-3 in the ninth inning, Adam Rosales hit a home run for the Athletics. At least, it should have been a home run. It was called a double on the field, as it was initially unclear if the ball actually cleared the fence or if it careened off the top of the fence and back onto the field.
No matter. Major League Baseball has video review and Athletics manager Bob Melvin asked for the play to be verified. The video clearly showed that the ball bounced off a pipe over the wall — a home run. It was easy to see.
Except the umpires somehow didn’t see it. Four of them took their time to inspect the replay and not one of them saw what the entire television audience could plainly see. The play stood as called — a double.
Oakland lost the game 4-3.
So, where do we go from here? There’s still time for Major League Baseball to make this embarrassing mistake right.
The Athletics should protest the game and MLB should reverse the decision. It wouldn’t be unprecedented. After the infamous “Pine Tar Game,” in which an apparent George Brett home run was wiped off the board when umpires ruled that he had too much of the sticky substance on his bat, the Royals protested the outcome (a loss) and their request was upheld. The game was restarted from the point of the home run about a month later and the Royals ended up squeaking out a one-run victory.
That’s exactly what should happen to the Indians and Athletics. MLB officials should engage is some good, old-fashioned sober second thought and overrule the vision-impaired umpires to give Rosales the home run he deserves. Then pick the game back up with the score tied 4-4 in the ninth.
It sounds easy enough to get this one right, but does anyone believe that MLB will actually do it?