In case you missed the fireworks last night, let me reset the stage…
With the Oakland Athletics down 4-3 in the bottom of the ninth inning, part-timer Adam Rosales hit what everyone thought was the game-tying home run. Well, everyone except the umpires.
The ball in question very clearly went over the wall and hit a railing before bouncing back onto the field of play. Umpire Angel Hernandez missed it. So did the rest of the crew, and so Roasles ended up on second base. Thank God for instant replay, right?
The umpires got together and reviewed the play, then inexplicably refused to correct the call. The A’s wound up losing the game, and a stunned Bob Melvin (Oakland’s manager) stated afterward that the umpires were “the only four people in the ballpark” that didn’t see it.
Rosales had this say about the home run… er double:
”Our whole team thought it was the wrong call. The replays showed it hit the railing. With six eyes on it (three umpires), you would have thought they’d make the right call.”
Even former Atlanta Braves star and future Hall of Famer Chipper Jones chimed in on the play.
“Since I can’t be fined for ripping umpires anymore, let me take this opportunity to express my displeasure with Angel Hernandez”, Jones said via Twitter. “I can see the powers that be in the MLB offices, rolling their eyes, thinking to themselves, ‘oh no, Angel is at it again’. What good is instant replay if you don’t have umpires who interpret it correctly? Some course of action has to be taken with these umps. Let’s go ESPN! Do an article. Make it happen. Ask questions. Demand accountability.”
That pretty much sums it up. There’s no accountability for umpires, and part of the reason for that is that players get fined if they complain publicly. Well, Jones is no longer a player. But his baseball opinion is still worth its weight in gold.
(JM Catellier is the author of the book Fixing Baseball, a guide to restructuring the Hall of Fame. Follow him on Twitter: @FixingBaseball and Facebook, and check out his site: www.fixingbaseball.com)