The Oakland Athletics had been there before — remarkably with their fate in the same hands.
During Tuesday night's game, Chris Young hit what looked like a walk-off, two-out, two-run homer in the bottom of the ninth for the A's. Or it looked like a very long, very dramatic foul ball. This one was so close, and so crucial, the umpiring crew would review it.
Oh, and about that umpiring crew: It was had three of the four guys (including Angel Hernandez) who botched that game in May when it appeared the A's had hit a tying homer in the ninth inning. Upon review, the umps — incorrectly — ruled that one a double
Tuesday's would-be homer was closer. You can watch the replay five times and not totally be sure. It sorta looks like the ball grazes the foul pole, which would mean it's fair and a homer. Notice the slight change in direction. But it's too hard to say "fair ball" without a doubt.
A's broadcaster Ray Fosse was certainly campaigning: "It's a home run ... don't even question it." But that's kind of his job, right? Here are four different announce teams' take on the play, along with a bunch of looks at the ball/foul pole relationship.
As you can see, the umps ruled it a foul ball. Young then struck out and the game was over. The Astros won 5-4. Afterward, A's skipper Bob Melvin was just happy it got reviewed. Or at least that's what he told the media, including the San Francisco Chronicle:
"I just wanted (the umpires) to take a look because we've been down that road before," Melvin said, adding that [third base umpire Doug] Eddings "felt like he was 100 percent sure. He was, but I just felt like as close as it looked from us, and the reaction from everybody, (it) at least would suggest a look - and I appreciate they went and looked at it."
Young was equally level-headed for a guy who went almost-hero to final out, telling MLB.com:
"That's how the game goes sometimes," Young said. "It goes from extremely crappy to amazing to unbelievable to crappy again. It was a full process all in a 3 1/2-hour period today ... From my point of view, I thought it was fair. I just appreciate the umpires going to check it out. That's all you can ask for. If it's foul, it's foul. Just go look at it and get it right, and they got it right. We were inches away from winning that game."
Surely, there are some A's fans out there right now who will tell you their team got another game stolen from them on Tuesday. Debate will linger. But this wasn't the outrageous "Oh my God, the umps blew it" moment like back in May.
Fan named Randall called the show says he was in the 2nd deck behind foul pole. Said ball was foul and wasn't as close as it looked on tv
— Guy Haberman (@GuyHaberman) August 14, 2013
Angel Hernandez and Co. are happy to hear it.