September 07, 2011
Orioles at Yankee Stadium, disputed home run, Baltimore comes out on the short end. This rings a 15-year-old bell.
Does anyone know the whereabouts of Jeffrey Maier and Tony Tarasco in the wee hours Wednesday morning?
The guys from the 1996 playoffs had nothing to do with the long fly to left hit by Francisco Cervelli(notes), or the fans who tried to interfere with it, or the confirmation made by umpires — after watching video replays — that it was a home run.
That's how the Yankees went ahead in the seventh inning, and they held on for a 5-3 victory after a rain delay of 4 hours, 3 minutes before the first pitch — which meant the last pitch wasn't thrown until 2:15 a.m. ET.
A long night. A soggy night. Fun and amusing, but long and soggy. And what did we learn? That Yankee Stadium needs to get its camera angles in order, because they showed nothing conclusive about Cervelli's homer.
The ball appeared to be interfered with by two fans reaching over the left-field fence, but would it have gone over anyway? Umpire Paul Emmel ruled that way at the time, and that was the case made by YankeeCaster Ken Singleton, and I tend to agree. Certainly, Orioles outfielder Matt Angle(notes) had no chance to catch the ball. Not jumping at that ... angle. (Where ya' goin', Matt? He totally got played by the wind there.)
I like how the guy in the hoodie is the only one in the photo who knows where the ball is.
Did we see anything close to conclusive evidence on video? Other than more fans who refuse to keep their hands inside the grandstand at all times during play?
This is the "other angle," which shows the fans reaching over, but doesn't show (well) the trajectory of the ball. Let's pretend these fans had no arms (a thought we can all get behind). Would the ball have hit the fan on the right in his unarmed chest?
Seven-billion dollar ballpark (figure exaggerated) and they can't get a reliable angle on a home run to left field? What happens in October when Phil Cuzzi blows another call in the ALDS?
Regardless, the manager of the Orioles seethed. Buck Showalter obviously expected umpires to reverse their call on the field, but crew chief Gary Darling did no such thing.
"They will tell you, even though they didn't tell me, that they need indisputable evidence to overturn what the decision was on the field," Showalter said. "I haven't looked real good at it. I know what the players saw."
Thanks for the straight answer, Buck. Replay is only as good as the technology it uses. It's a good assumption that, come the postseason, enough cameras will be working at Yankee Stadium that one of them will get a decent angle on a ball like Cervelli's. But why wasn't one available for a game Major League Baseball made everyone wait four hours for?
I'd keep complaining, but it's past my bedtime.