It’s one thing when a player makes a mistake or a manager a bad decision. That’s part of the game. It’s expected. It is the human element.
It’s also expected umpires will blow calls, but in that case, there’s a vehicle in place to get it right. Baseball has introduced technology to work with the human side. Unfortunately, it’s only used on home runs, but the game is far more than the long ball.
Who knows … perhaps it would be the Tigers playing the Yankees had plate umpire Randy Marsh got it right and called it a HBP on Brandon Inge with the bases loaded Tuesday in the Metrodome. Replay got it and the Tigers should have had a run. Maybe they beat the Twins, maybe they don’t, but we shouldn’t be wondering.
And, who knows what Phil Cuzzi saw a ball when he ruled Joe Mauer’s ball off Melky Cabrera’s glove foul instead of fair, which it was by close to half a foot if not more. Later, when it was too late, the umps admitted they got it wrong. Worse, Cuzzi was the extra umpire used for the postseason.
Instead of a runner on second and no outs, the Twins had a man on first with no outs. The Twins eventually loaded the bases with no outs, but with the human element, did not score. They lost in the bottom of the inning.
Had the play been ruled correctly and the inning unfolded as it did, the Twins would have scored. The ump’s admission does not remove them from the brink of elimination.
“The left field umpire Phil Cuzzi saw the ball foul and called what he saw, rendered the ball foul decision,” crew chief Tim Tschida said. “Afterwards, like any close play, we went in and looked at it and it’s a clear indication that an incorrect decision was rendered.”
There’s a vehicle in place to get it right and it should be expanded.
Unlike football where the action takes place anywhere and the view is often obstructed by fly bodies, baseball has fixed locations in the foul lines and bases. It’s far easier to correct plays. Even on trapped balls in the outfield, there’s rarely another body to blur the view.
If the goal is to get it right, then MLB should use everything at its disposal to ensure the game is correctly called. There’s too much at stake otherwise.