In the end, the umpires got the call right, but the blown call in the bottom of the first inning of the World Series was just another reminder that, really, replay can’t get here quickly enough.
The play occurred, when with one out and runners at first and second, David Ortiz hit a grounder to St. Louis second baseman Matt Carpenter. He threw to shortstop Pete Kozma, covering second and trying to turn a double play. Kozma never grabbed the ball, though. It bounced off his glove and he went through with the motion, as the ball trickled away.
Stunningly, second-base umpire Dana DeMuth called Dustin Pedrioa, the runner, out.
It was so egregiously wrong that it prompted nightmare flashbacks to the NFL’s replacement refs and umpire Don Denkinger, whose botched call at first doomed the Cardinals in Game 6 of the 1985 World Series. (That would be the call that ESPN rated the worst in sports history.) This time, though, the umps huddled up and reversed the call.
“My vision was on the foot,” DeMuth explained to a pool reporter (via NESN.com). “And when I was coming up, all I could see was a hand coming out and the ball on the ground. All right? So I was assuming…”
For now, baseball allows video replay on home run calls, but, next season, almost everything (not including balls/strikes) will be reviewable. Imagine how DeMuth felt when the realization of how badly he’d blundered sank in.
”Oh, it’s awful. It’s an awful feeling,” DeMuth told a pool reporter afterward (via NESN.com). “Especially when I’m sure I have the right call. But I’ve got to be part of a team here and get the right call, you know, definitely get the right call. When I see that [the other umps coming over to him], it’s like, ‘Okay.’ But, yeah, it’s an awful feeling.”
Starter Adam Wainwright went on to give up three runs in the inning as the Cardinals dropped Game 1, 8-1, so the call shrank somewhat in the overall scheme of things.
“We got together and everybody said, each guy, what do you have?” crew chief John Hirschbeck said. “[And they said], ‘One hundred percent.’ Each said, ‘I’m 100 percent’. And then they got to me and I said, ‘I’m 100 percent, too.’ So that’s why we decided to change it.”
Thomas Boswell: Only one team showed up