Oct 10

If they’re going to have instant replay, then do it right ….

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.

CUZZI: Blown call could alter playoffs.

CUZZI: Blown call could alter playoffs.

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.

Oct 07

Did you see the game?

Yesterday was one of those days when baseball can be a magical sport. The tension was so thick in the Metrodome because of the finality of it. Somebody has to go home.

The Tigers took the lead and the Twins’ luck had run out. But, they regrouped and with the Metrodome as loud as only that place can be, the Tigers came back. It was one of those games where there was tension on every pitch.

If you weren’t a baseball fan then, you would have been later. The game was over four hours, but would anybody have complained about the length. When the game is that good, nobody cares about the time of game. Save overtime, you know when football and basketball will end. The clock tells you so. But, there is no clock in baseball. That’s why it is a timeless sport and always will be.

Just play the game right, and people will watch.

I know I will, and I hope you’ll join me as I blog throughout the playoffs.

Oct 06

Talkin’ Baseball: Tigers at Twins (AL playoff)

The finality of these one-game playoffs breeds the tension and excitement. On the surface, the Twins carry all the momentum and the Tigers are reeling. It’s the second straight year in which the Twins needed a playoff, with last year saw them losing 1-0 at Chicago.

Twins roll into playoffs.

Twins roll into playoffs.

Few could see this happening a month ago when the Twins trailed Detroit by seven games. A week later, they lost All-Star Justin Morneau to a season-ending back injury and most thought their chances were cooked. And, just last week, they were three down with four to play.

While the Tigers went 11-15 down the stretch, the Twins won 16 of 20 and four straight to force the extra game. They are kind of like the roll the Colorado Rockies were on in 2007. The winner of today’s game gets the Yankees, who had the option of having until after today’s game to decide whether to open the ALDS Wednesday or Thursday.

Tigers stagger into playoffs.

Tigers stagger into playoffs.

Gamesmanship all the way, they chose tomorrow, giving today’s winner no chance to catch its breath.

“Everybody wrote off the Twins, it seems like, a long time ago, especially when Morneau went down,” said Yankees outfielder Johnny Damon. “A team needs to keep fighting and they’ve been one of those special teams for a long time. It seems like they don’t give up. That’s the great thing about baseball. You never know.”

The one thing we do know about today’s game is it will be loud.

My plan is to blog as much of the postseason as I can, and that begins today. I don’t have a favorite in this game. The consensus seems to be Detroit has a better chance to unseat the Yankees than Minnesota.

Oct 15

Responding to some comments

Ramirez: He had to go.

Ramirez: He had to go.

Sorry … a little late today in responding to your comments from last night after I logged off.

1. chucky (about Manny Ramirez): I understand what you’re saying about burying grudges for the good of the team. But, I disagree that placating Ramirez would have been the way to go. I thought the Red Sox made the right decision to get rid of him. Even if it means not getting to the World Series (of course, we don’t know that, yet).

2. Jim (on dealing Delgado to Minnesota): The Twins might need a DH/1B type, but I don’t see them trading a top prospect in the offseason for Delgado, who has these red flags: salary, injury history, age and the question of whether his second half was a fluke.

3. Steve (The Original) (on Phillie fans at Citi Field): Tickets will be a premium next year at Citi Field. Plus, there are fewer of them to go around. If I had season tickets, I would sell my Yankee and Phillie tickets to pay for the whole package. I’m sure I’m not the only one with those capitalist leanings.-JD