Friday, October 24, 2008

Umpire Blunders - World Series

So far, we've seen some strange calls this world series from our umpires. While I haven't been able to watch every pitch because of other obligations, I have seen and heard enough to know that our favorite men in blue aren't doing enough to stay out of the spotlight.

During last night's game: Kerwin Danley had 2 calls that were clearly missed. The first was the strange strike 3, no maybe not call during Rocco Baldelli's at bat early in the game. Via Dave Pinto at Baseballmusings:

With Navarro at first after a single, Baldelli appears to strike out on a 3-2 pitch. He tried to check his swing, but the pitch looked to me like it caught the outside corner. The home plate ump's (Danley) right hand goes up as if calling a strike, but then points to first for help. The first base ump says no swing, and Baldelli goes to first. Even if it was a check swing, it looked like a strike. A bad and confusing call there.

Danley would not be finished... his 2nd bad call of the night came during the 9th inning with Jimmy Rollins up as the potential tying run. This time a David Price fastball brushed the jersey of Rollins, who heard and felt the ball hit him. He immediately looked at the ump, and even the always observant, watches no baseball during the regular season, Joe Buck noticed the non-call before the replay. Replay's confirmed the ball did in fact hit Rollins, but he was not awarded first base. It turned out to be a big non-call as Rollins would eventually pop out to the shortstop. 3 batters later, the rally and the game was over. Series tied 1-1, and Bud Selig sends Danley his bonus check.

But... could Danley have simply been getting back at the Phils for a missed call during game 1? If you recall, there was an obvious balk that was not called (ok... maybe not obvious), but the missed call prevented what would have been man on 2nd with no outs and down 1 run during the 6th inning for the Rays. With the momentum shift back in the Phils (and Hamels) favor after that play, he would get the next two guys out, inning over.

Even Duk at BLS agreed this was a balk and Carlos Pena should have been awarded 2nd base. This would have put a man in scoring position with no outs and Longeria and Crawford up with a chance to tie the game. One could argue that Hamels didn't give up a hit and therefore Pena would have not scored anyway, but with a momentum shift like that you never know if Cole reacts differently with a man on 2nd no outs, versus nobody on base and 1 out.

In case you were wondering... the first base umpire during game 1: Kerwin Danley