If every bad postseason call and the ensuing outcry counts as a move toward the logical adoption of instant replay then the good news is that we made some progress this weekend.
The bad news is that yet another postseason game had to be unnecessarily marred by baseball's slow crawl to reason. One night after a wrong call at first base killed an early Yankees rally in Game 1, second base umpire Jeff Nelson booted a much easier call in Sunday's Game 2. Nelson's error in judgment — he ruled Omar Infante safe in the eighth inning when Robinson Cano had clearly tagged him as he scrambled to get back to the bag — unnecessarily extended the inning and allowed the Tigers to add an extra two runs in a 3-0 win at Yankee Stadium.
Though the impotent Yankees offense couldn't turn the call into a full-blown controversy by managing to score a run in their final two turns at the plate, it was the first order of business in the press conference for Yankees manager Joe Girardi (who was thrown out of the game for arguing the call). Resident MLB wonk Joe Torre was even summoned to the interview room, where he passed along the news that Nelson admitted to getting the call wrong.
Here's what Girardi had to say about the call after the game (via ASAP Sports):
"It's frustrating. I don't have a problem with Jeff's effort, I don't, because he hustled to get to the play. But in this day and age when we have instant replay available to us, it's got to change. These guys are under tremendous amounts of pressure. It is a tough call for him because the tag is underneath and it's hard for him to see. And it takes more time to argue and get upset than you get the call right. Too much is at stake. We play 235 days to get to this point, and two calls go against us. We lose it by one run last night.
"And I'm not saying if Robby Cano is safe last night that it changes the game. The outcome may be the same, but I like to take my chances. There is more pressure on the pitchers when it is 1‑0 in the eighth inning and your club is hitting than 3‑0. I would like to take my chances."
As I wrote after the blown call on Cano at first base on Saturday night, there aren't many non-Yankees fans who are going to cry over the pinstripes having a break go against them. But maybe there should be because I'm of the belief that Bud Selig will never be pressured into action until it clearly costs the Yankees a postseason win and the New York media unleashes its hounds on the commissioner. What's some temporary sympathy for the Yankees when it means fixing baseball's most glaring weakness?
Still, it's ludicrous that baseball isn't close to implementing a review system, even if it's just a guy in the pressbox with a box of popcorn and his own television. Allowing these bad calls to stand is bad for the game, no matter who they're going against.
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