MLB says umpires made 'improper call'
Major League Baseball acknowledges an "improper call" was made by umpires in the ninth inning of a game between the Cleveland Indians and Oakland Athletics.
Umpires failed to reverse a disputed tying home run by Oakland's Adam Rosales after a video review Wednesday. MLB executive vice president Joe Torre says the judgment call by umpire Angel Hernandez and his crew "stands as final."
Major League Baseball issued a statement nearly two hours after Thursday's first pitch in Cleveland and indicated the call will stand.
"By rule, the decision to reverse a call by use of instant replay is at the sole discretion of the crew chief. ... It was a judgment call, and as such, it stands as final," Torre said.
"Home and away broadcast feeds are available for all uses of instant replay, and they were available to the crew last night. Given what we saw, we recognize that an improper call was made. Perfection is an impossible standard in any endeavor, but our goal is always to get the calls right. Earlier this morning, we began the process of speaking with the crew to thoroughly review all the circumstances surrounding last night's decision."
The umpires did not reverse their call despite watching video. TV replays clearly showed Rosales' ball went over the wall, and their decision shocked the A's, the Indians, 14,000 fans in attendance at Progressive Field and anyone watching the game on TV.
Athletics manager Bob Melvin brought his lineup card to home plate before Thursday's game, his first face-to-face meeting with the umpires since the ruling. Melvin was cordial and returned to the dugout after having joked earlier that he hoped he wouldn't get ejected.
"I don't have much to say about it," he said. "I'm not going to talk to them about it. If they want talk about it's one thing, but I'm just going to take the lineup card out."
Helped by the disputed call, the Indians held on and won 4-3 as closer Chris Perez escaped a bases-loaded jam.
Randy Marsh, MLB's director of umpires, attended Thursday's game. Marsh would not comment specifically on the disputed play but said he was sent to Cleveland to speak with the umpires and check the replay equipment.
Melvin, who had requested that the umpires review Rosales' hit, was automatically ejected by Hernandez for charging onto the field and arguing after the video review. MLB rules state that once the review is made, the call stands.
Hernandez, who asked a pool reporter not to record his interview after the game, said there was not enough clear proof to overturn the original call.
"It wasn't evident on the TV we had it was a home run," Hernandez said. "I don't know what kind of replay you had, but you can't reverse a call unless there is 100 percent evidence, and there wasn't 100 percent evidence."
Retired Atlanta Braves third baseman Chipper Jones took to Twitter to express dismay with the call.
"Snce I can't be fined for ripping umpires anymore, let me take this opportunity to express my displeasure w/ Angel Hernandez. ... Even worse than that, there were 2 other umpires looking at it with him. What the hell were they lookin at?? Musta been "get away day"
Melvin wasn't entirely familiar with the review procedure, which takes place off the field and near the umpires' dressing room. But he was confident the three umpires who left the field would see the same replays that were available to anyone watching the TV broadcasts.
Melvin said he became concerned the double would not be ruled a homer when the umpires took extra time to review the play.
"It actually worried me when it took so long because I knew all it took was one replay to see," he said. "Even the group in the suite next to us, you could see them look at the replay one time, and they all turned away and said it was a home run. When I went and looked at it in the video room, their TV announcers were saying, 'This is a home run, let's go.'"
Melvin's understanding, which Torre confirmed, is that the umpires get several camera angles when reviewing a contested homer.
"They get all the feeds from both outlets and maybe even another one, I don't know," he said. "But I don't think that MLB withholds feeds from them. Now, what they're watching it on, I don't know. I'm not in there. It came down to somebody's decision, and that was probably against the grain from what the majority thought."
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.
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