The second inning of Game 4 of the American League Championship Series between the Texas Rangers and New York Yankees brought back an excruciating memory for Orioles fans tuning in on Tuesday night.
Yankees second baseman Robinson Cano’s drive into the right field bleachers was ruled a home run by umpire Jim Reynolds despite the protests of Rangers right fielder Nelson Cruz and manager Ron Washington. It was eerily similar to one of the worst memories in Baltimore sports history — also taking place in the Bronx — with Tony Tarasco as the right fielder and Davey Johnson as skipper.
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Unlike the blown interference call by umpire Richie Garcia in Game 1 of the 1996 ALCS, umpires are now afforded the luxury to review a home run in which there is possible interference.
Despite a fan clearly making contact with Cruz’s glove in the field of play, the umpires made no attempt to use instant replay to see what really happened, if even to confirm Reynolds got the call right.
Was it a clear case of fan interference? Maybe not, but it unquestionably warranted a review. The players, the fans, and baseball deserved that much.
Apparently, video review isn’t necessary in Major League Baseball if the umpire “knows” he got the call right.
Ironically, Lance Berkman came to the plate two batters later and hit a ball down the right field line that was initially called a home run, but the crew reviewed it and overturned the decision — it was a foul ball.
But no such luck with the previous batter.
It doesn’t make any sense.
Yes, the NFL has its own problems these days with the controversial helmet-to-helmet hits and the impending threat of a lockout, but there’s no way that call would have stood without the referee first going underneath the hood to look at it again before making a definitive call. It’s just the latest example why pro football rules supreme in America while baseball continues to lag hopelessly behind in popularity.
Regardless of Tuesday night’s outcome, which turned out to be a 10-3 victory to give Texas a 3-1 series lead, Baltimore can empathize with Rangers fans on that second-inning call and the anger and uneasiness it created.
The difference is umpires have a chance to fix potentially egregious calls in 2010.
For whatever reason, they decided to forgo the opportunity.
And that was even more pathetic than this guy.