Baseball's umpiring supervisor planned to meet with the American League Championship Series umpiring crew before Friday night's Game 3, as part of an effort to standardize umpires' mechanisms for indicating strikes and outs in the future.
"This will definitely be a topic of conversation with the umpires tonight," Rich Reiker said Friday afternoon. "And we'll look at it some more this offseason and try to get it cleaned up."
The standardization effort is in response to a controversial call at the end of Game 2, in which home plate umpire Doug Eddings seemed indecisive in ruling that a pitch from Los Angeles Angels reliever Kelvim Escobar to Chicago White Sox catcher A.J. Pierzynski was in the dirt, allowing Pierzynski to run safely to first base. The White Sox won the game one batter later, 2-1.
Compounding the problem was the fact Eddings made a gesture with his fist that is generally meant to indicate an out. In comments to several reporters who were on the same flight as Eddings from Chicago to Orange County on Thursday, Eddings acknowledged he had not been emphatic enough in his call.
"The only thing I'm down on myself [about] is I should've sold it either way," he told the reporters. "I should have either said, 'No catch,' or, if I [ruled it was] a catch, that he was out. . . . I never said, 'He's out.' "
Reiker said he shares Eddings's belief that he got the call right, but he did not dispute Eddings's statement that he should have made a clearer indication of his call.
Rolling With No Regrets
Josh Paul, the third-string Angels catcher who was behind the plate when the controversial play occurred, said he did not regret rolling the ball back to the pitcher's mound, instead of tagging Pierzynski just to be sure.
Asked if he had second-guessed himself since the play in question, Paul said, "Not once."
Paul was given a hearty round of applause by the home fans during player introductions before the game, while Pierzynski was roundly booed.
Sox GM Likes Instant Replay
It didn't take long after Wednesday's controversial strikeout call for the cries for instant replay to rise again. This was not lost on White Sox General Manager Ken Williams who might be one of the very few people in the game who think a football-style replay is a good idea.
Finally given an audience for an idea dismissed in the past as crackpot, he smiled as he eagerly recounted the details of proposing instant replay at the last three winter meetings only to have his suggestions shot down.
"This is the last you will hear of it from me," he told the other general managers last year. "I give up."
Williams scoffed at the primary reason baseball replay won't work -- that watching the replays would make the games last too long. "Instead of 10 minutes of arguments you can just go look at the tape," he said.