Thu Oct 07 10:24am EDT
Orlando Cabrera's(notes) sour grapes aside, Wednesday's umpiring crews were oh-so-close to escaping without inciting another round of criticism. I mean, we're talking just one out away from heading to a late dinner in the Twin Cities without any major collateral damage.
If only it were ever that easy. With two outs in the ninth inning of the day's nightcap, New York Yankees rightfielder Greg Golson(notes) made a great play on a sinking liner from the Minnesota Twins' Delmon Young(notes). It was a tough call, but it looked as if Golson had made the grab and a 6-4 victory in Game 1 of the ALDS had been sealed.
Golson's catch was indeed clean (as you can see above), but right-field line umpire Chris Guccione immediately called it a trap and the inning was extended. Super-slugging Jim Thome(notes) came to the plate representing the tying run and the future seemed clear. Big Jim would hit a homer and, because the Yankees had been the victims of a bad call, the Earth would swallow itself before I even got the chance to post anything about it.
Luckily for Bud Selig (and mankind), Thome popped out on the next pitch to make it all a non-issue.
"I'm just glad it didn't end up costing us," Golson said via the AP. "It was a big play."
So, huge crisis adverted.
But the issue that wrong calls are being made still exists. And there's still a whole postseason to play with our only safety net available on home run calls.
Thing is, we can't even blame Guccione in this place, because that's a tough call to make from the position he's in and umpires don't normally work the right-field line during the regular season. Really, it was the type of play that was just begging for the multiple angles of instant-replay cameras.
As has been said many times before, that technology to help make the correct call has existed for a long time. Why must baseball remain so stubborn about using it?