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MLB: ‘Improper call’ made in Indians-A’s game but result stands
CLEVELAND — Major League Baseball said the umpires were wrong.
The Athletics knew that all along.
“We saw what we saw last night,” Oakland manager Bob Melvin said.
One day after umpire Angel Hernandez and his crew failed to reverse an obvious game-tying home run by A’s infielder Adam Rosales in the ninth inning following a video review, MLB executive vice president Joe Torre said an “improper call” was made in Wednesday’s game between the Indians and Athletics.
However, despite pointing out the critical error, Torre said the “judgment” call will stand. The Indians won 4-3, and went on to sweep the four-game series with a 9-2 victory over the A’s on Thursday.
Melvin, who had been in contact with MLB officials since shortly after Wednesday’s game, said he never thought the ruling would be overturned.
“No, I didn’t think there was any chance at that,” he said, “because there’d been calls before that have been missed and nothing’s happened because of it.”
Few, though, seemed as egregious as this error.
The A’s were already down by six runs in the series finale when Torre’s statement was released. In it, the former Yankees manager made it clear the umpires had blown the call.
“By rule, the decision to reverse a call by use of instant replay is at the sole discretion of the crew chief,” Torre said. “In the opinion of Angel Hernandez, who was last night’s crew chief, there was not clear and convincing evidence to overturn the decision on the field. It was a judgment call, and as such, it stands as final.
“Home and away broadcast feeds are available for all uses of instant replay, and they were available to the crew last night. Given what we saw, we recognize that an improper call was made. Perfection is an impossible standard in any endeavor, but our goal is always to get the calls right. Earlier this morning, we began the process of speaking with the crew to thoroughly review all the circumstances surrounding last night’s decision.”
Before MLB’s ruling, Melvin said he still believed he witnessed a home run and nothing will ever change his mind.
The stunning decision not to reverse the call was the talk of the sports world with everyone seeming to agree the A’s had been wronged. Retired Atlanta third baseman Chipper Jones didn’t mince words with his take on the umpires’ blown call.
“What good is instant replay if u don’t have umpires who interpret it correctly?” Jones wrote on Twitter. “Some course of action has to be taken w/ umps. Even worse than that, there were 2 other umpires looking at it with him. What the hell were they lookin at?? Musta been “get away day”!
With two outs, Rosales sent a drive to left that appeared to easily clear the 19-foot-high outfield wall and strike a metal railing. Melvin asked Hernandez and his crew to review the hit, and three umpires left the field to view replays in a designated area near their dressing room.
After a lengthy delay, the umpires returned and instructed Rosales, who was set to sprint home, to stay at second, a decision that shocked him the A’s, the Indians, 14,000 fans in attendance at Progressive Field and people watching on television.
“That’s the final decision,” he said. “I mean, there’s nothing else you can do about it. Once it happened, it happened. It’s over, that was yesterday. Just got to move on from it and continue forward.”
Bartolo Colon (3-2) was tagged for three homers in four innings by the Indians, who swept a four-game set from the A’s for the first time since 1999.
“He didn’t look awful,” Melvin said. “The velocity was there, the balls he got in the middle of the plate they hit and they did it the whole series. So, sometimes the other team just beats you and today that was the case. We had a couple chances early on, and we didn’t come through.
“And every time they had an opportunity, they did.”
Melvin brought his lineup card to home plate before Thursday’s game for his first face-to-face meeting with Hernandez and his crew since the disputed ruling. Melvin was cordial and returned to the dugout after having joked earlier he hoped he wouldn’t get ejected.
Did he say anything to the umps?
“Nope,” he said. “Just ‘Hi.’ That’s fine by me.”
Randy Marsh, MLB’s director of umpires, attended Thursday’s game. Marsh did not comment specifically on the disputed play, but was sent to Cleveland to speak with the umpires and make sure the replay equipment was functioning properly.
Marsh said everything appeared to be in order.
For the A’s, their four days in Cleveland couldn’t have gone much worse. Oakland came to town after winning two of three against the Yankees, but the majors’ top-scoring team managed just eight runs in four games against the Indians.
“They’re playing great, can’t do anything wrong,” Melvin said. “And we’re struggling. That’s what happened. What happened last night shouldn’t affect today. They just beat us.”
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