BOSTON (AP) - Just think how much we like to watch wild arguments in baseball, when a manager flaps his arms, throws his hat and hollers nose-to-nose at the umpire while the spit flies.
Gee, all that fun will soon be out.
A blown call that the umps reversed in the World Series opener Wednesday night steamed both the Boston Red Sox and St. Louis Cardinals, and gave fans a sort of preview of exactly what they’ll be missing.
Starting next season, Major League Baseball is expected to expand instant replay to resolve almost every dispute except for decisions on balls and strikes.
“End of an era,” longtime umpire Don Denkinger told The Associated Press by phone, right after a dropped throw set off the squabbling at Fenway Park. “But it’s about time, isn’t it?”
Denkinger was a distinguished umpire for three decades, but that’s not why many remember him. His infamous wrong ruling at first base in Game 6 of the 1985 World Series revived the Kansas City Royals, who went on to beat the Cardinals for the crown.
“In those days, you made your call and hung with it,” he said. “And then you suffered the consequences.”
As those in the stands saw replays on smartphones and screamed louder and louder, the umps overturned the call and ruled Dustin Pedroia safe.
“Honestly, I was a little surprised that it happened,” Boston manager John Farrell said Thursday.
Said Cardinals manager Mike Matheny: “It’s a pretty tough time to debut that overruled call in the World Series.”
Rare to flip a call on this stage, indeed. Unprecedented? Hardly.
At a key moment in the 2004 AL championship series, Alex Rodriguez swatted a ball out of the glove of Boston pitcher Bronson Arroyo and wound up at second base. But the umpires conferred and reversed it, saying A-Rod was out for interference.
Commissioner Bud Selig liked the way this situation was resolved.
“If you took all the debates, instant replay there would have saved us a lot of time. So they made the right decision and I give them credit. I really give them credit,” he said.