Big League Stew - MLB

The epidemic is spreading.

From St. Petersburg to Minneapolis to the city by the bay, controversial calls are already beginning to overtake the 2010 MLB Playoffs.  

While each call has had an impact, the most significant by far came on Thursday night during the San Francisco Giants' 1-0 win over the Atlanta Braves in Game 1 of the NLDS.

Why was it significant? Because it directly involved the runner who would score the game's only run.

The contest was otherwise defined by superb pitching efforts from both Tim Lincecum(notes) and Derek Lowe(notes), and it was clear that both managers knew what they were up against.

Nowhere was that more clear than in the fourth inning, when Bruce Bochy elected to put Buster Posey(notes) — he of no career steals — in motion with Pat Burrell(notes) at the bat and no outs.

[Related: Postseason kicks off with yet another blown call]

The move paid off for Bochy, but as you can see in the picture above, Posey was out by quite a lot. 

He wasn't called that way, though, because second base umpire Paul Emmel saw it quite differently (via Jeff Fletcher of AOL FanHouse):

"I saw him safe. That's what I called."

Emmel's call changed the entire landscape of the inning for Lowe and Bobby Cox. Posey would score on a two-out single by Cody Ross(notes) later in the inning. Neither team would score again. 

But while plenty of Braves fans protested on Twitter, no one on the Braves said a peep at the time.

Not Brooks Conrad(notes), who put the tag on Posey. 

[List: The worst calls in sports]

And not by Bobby Cox (via the Associated Press):

"I haven't seen it," Cox said of the tag play after the game. "Some of the guys came down after that inning and said he was out by six, eight inches. I didn't see a reaction from anyone. From the dugout you can't see anything."

You can't see anything from the dugout? Maybe that helps explain all of those ejections over the years.  

The Braves' lack of protest doesn't change the facts of what we all saw. The reality is the call was missed and the game was changed because of it. Another game, another controversy.

Worse yet, we're only two days in. 

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