- The Washington Times - Monday, November 2, 2009

PHILADELPHIA | In this, the postseason of disputed calls and replay reviews, television is now trying to help make life easier on umpires at the World Series.

One night after one of its cameras behind the right-field fence was struck by Alex Rodriguez’s deep drive, Fox decided to move it back from the fence to prevent a similar play from happening in the two remaining series games at Citizens Bank Park between the New York Yankees and Philadelphia Phillies.

“As a precaution, we’ve moved the right-field foul-pole camera back slightly so that the edge of the lens is completely in line with the top of the wall,” Fox spokesman Lou D’Ermilio told the Associated Press on Sunday.

Rodriguez’s fourth-inning shot Saturday in Game 3 of the World Series was originally ruled a double by right-field umpire Jeff Nelson, who thought the ball struck the wall. The first replay review in postseason history confirmed the ball actually hit the camera hovering over the wall, and the call was changed to a home run.

Umpires were prepared for such a scenario before the game, having noticed the camera position in advance.

“We tour the field during the series whenever we go to a new ballpark and discuss specific ground rules and potential trouble areas just like that,” crew chief Gerry Davis said. “Because we cannot control what the cameraman does with the camera, one of the specific ground rules is when the ball hits the camera, home run.”

This postseason has featured a number of missed calls and questionable umpiring decisions, leading many to push for more extensive replay in the future. For now, replay is allowed only on boundary calls like the Rodriguez hit Saturday night.

Hamels’ mental state

If this series is extended the distance to Game 7, Cole Hamels would be in line to start for the Phillies. But does the former Philadelphia ace really want the ball for such a do-or-die game, and would manager Charlie Manuel give it to him?

The way Hamels spoke after losing Game 3, he didn’t sound interested in making another start in this series.

“I can’t wait for it to end,” the lefty said of his up-and-down season. “It’s been mentally draining. … It’s one of those things, a year in, you just can’t wait for a fresh start. There are 30 other teams sitting at home right now thinking the same thing. I can’t wait for the season to be over.”

Asked about his young pitcher’s comments Sunday before Game 4, Manuel said he was “surprised when I heard that” before offering a defense for Hamels.

“He’s never been through that before,” the manager said. “This is all new to him, and that’s something that he will get through and probably be even better. But… from what I’ve seen of him, he’s a competitor, and he’s definitely mentally tough.”

Extra bases

Yankees manager Joe Girardi confirmed what everyone had been expecting: A.J. Burnett will return on three days’ rest to start Game 5 on Monday night. Assuming lefty Andy Pettitte also comes back on short rest to start a potential Game 6, the Yankees would be the first team since the 1998 San Diego Padres to use only three starters in a World Series. …

New York shortstop Derek Jeter and St. Louis Cardinals first baseman Albert Pujols were named winners of this year’s Hank Aaron Award, selected by fans for the best offensive performance in each league.

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