July 21, 2011
Major league players and fans alike complain if umpires take too long to conduct a video replay review. And if the umps end up making an unpopular call, well, prepare to be hit with tons of righteous indignation.
Imagine if someone took two days to change a call and made, in your opinion, a mistake in doing so. Well, it just happened in the Pacific Coast League, a Triple-A level minor league.
On Wednesday, after an apparently exhaustive review process, PCL honchos reversed an official scorer's disputed call that erased a no-hitter from the record books for Kansas City Royals minor leaguer Luis Mendoza(notes).
Outrage! (Kind of.)
It is telling, watching a replay of Mendoza (pictured angelically above) finishing off his no-no against Memphis, along with the ensuing reaction, Monday night. The half-smiles, the feeble hugs, the lack of obvious fist pumps ... even Mendoza appeared to think it wasn't real.
It wasn't. But it should have been. It should have been a no-hitter all along.
The first instinct of John Guinozzo — who has been scoring Memphis baseball games for more than 40 seasons — was to call it an error. Guinozzo did some flip-flopping the night of the game, but the PCL changed the original ruling after Memphis requested a review on Tuesday.
Writes Danny Wild at MLB.com:
"It was a very, very difficult call for the official scorer to make, and the same here," said Dwight Hall, PCL director of baseball operations.
Hall, one of those involved in reversing the original ruling, said video replays helped the league reach its decision.
"We just felt it was compelling enough," he said.
Video replay! Ah-ha! I'm for expanded video replay in the majors to help umps make the right call. And I have no problem with official scorers using video to help them score games, as they have done for decades. But this use of replay was overuse, a misuse.
The PCL's change did not affect the final score; Mendoza's Storm Chasers had beaten the Redbirds (affiliates of the St. Louis Cardinals) 4-0. So, the league's decision doesn't seem outrageous. It just unnecessarily messes with history — and the longtime process of scoring — which any baseball fan should find troubling.
Instead of a second career no-no, it's only a one-hitter for Mendoza. Also: No more error for outfielder David Lough(notes) — who said he gladly would have taken one — and a double for sometimes-major leaguer Tyler Greene(notes), who continued a hitting streak instead of drawing the collar.
The league should have trusted Guinozzo's original judgment, which reportedly became corrupted by agents from both teams trying to influence the outcome. First the home team complained, then the visitors.
Also corrupting the scorer: Video replay.
At the end of the game story in the Memphis Commercial Appeal, note the first comment, from someone claiming to be Guinozzo.
This is the official scorer. It was a close, close play that could have gone either way. My first thought was error and then I got to thinking and you know how things go so after reviewing the video many times, we went with a hit but then....talking with the manager for Omaha, I went back to original call as error.
Congratulations to the winning pitcher.
p.s. if the same play happened in the first or any other inning, the call would be the same -- error.
The Stew is trying to contact Guinozzo directly — and surely someone in the local media will follow up with him. But for now, taking these comments as gospel, note what he says about watching video replay "many times."
Too many. And the PCL officers did likewise, taking quite a while to render a decision. Probably, it means the video evidence was inconclusive and should be ignored — which is what Guinozzo did in the first place. He called it an error.
It should have been a no-hitter. Well, it's too late to do anything about it now, as the game was days ago. Oh, wait ...
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