Though I'm glad they have the safety net, I would like to remind major league umpires that instant replay on home run calls is not a toy. Nor should it be used as a crutch for incompetent umpiring.
The benefit of the review should be there for too-close-to-call rulings, not for blatant errors like the one made on Brandon Inge's(notes) obvious eighth-inning foul ball during Chicago's 5-4 win over Detroit on Monday. Though Inge's right-size, wrong-shape hit off Chris Sale(notes) was initially ruled a home run by third-base ump Tony Randazzo, it was even apparent to Inge himself that he had majorly hooked the ball into foul territory. Watch the replay
"I was kind of watching it, watching it, started leaking towards first base and then I stopped and came back," Inge said. "And then I saw him pointing, and I was like, OK."
To be fair, the Tigers announcers also initially called it a home run, but this wasn't the case of a quick tailhook at the end of a drive. Inge's ball maintained the same lengthy distance from the top of the pole to its bottom and even most of the fans around the landing didn't trick themselves into believing the Tigers had just taken a 6-4 lead.
Luckily for Ozzie Guillen's crew, the correct call was quickly made after the umpires took a look at the replay and reversed Randazzo. And fortunately for MLB, any playoff umpiring will be aided by an additional official down the outfield lines.
Still, you have to hope that the umpires aren't getting into last year's postseason form. The last thing baseball needs is another Phil Cuzzi moment.