Saturday, December 1, 2012

Instant Replay Series: Yankees Robbed!

For many years, the Yankees have been the beneficiaries of many poor and controversial calls.  I'm sure it started back before the Babe was calling his shots, but we didn’t have high-def instant replay or twitter, so not as many of us were up in arms about it.  But just in the expanded post-season era there have been several examples of calls that were made that almost seemed like there was a memo from the top to ensure the Yankees got whatever breaks they needed to win the World Series.  This started in the 1996 ALCS when in the 8th inning of Game 1, Yankee fan Jeffrey Maier reached over the right field fence at Yankee Stadium to prevent Tony Tarasco from making a routine catch on a deep fly ball.  Instead of being ruled spectator interference, the Umpiring crew ruled it a game tying home run. Yankees went on to win that game, the ALCS and their first World Series since 1978.

In 1999 in the ALCS against the Red Sox, the Yankees were again helped when a phantom tag helped Chuck Knoblauch turn a double play in the 8th inning of a 1 run Game 4.  Instead of the Series being tied at 2 games New York took a commanding 3-1 lead, and again went on to win the World Series - their third of four in a five year span.

In 2009, they got help in both the ALDS and ALCS to ensure they made it to the World Series. In Game 2 of the ALDS, in the 11th inning Joe Mauer hit a ball down the left field line that looked to be clearly fair.  Amazingly the Umpire who made the call had a perfect view and was only a few steps away as can be seen here.  Instead of the Twins tying up the Series at 1 game apiece, the Yankees went on to win and sweep the Series.  Then in the ALCS against the Angels, in Game 4 Mike Napoli clearly tags both Robinson Cano and Jorge Posada as they were both off 3rd base, but only one runner was called out.  And of course, you know how this turns out, with them finally able to win their only championship of this century.

After all these breaks going their way, this year's ALCS saw some calls going against them which may have robbed them of a chance to return to the World Series.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Instant Replay Series: Check Swing

My next installment on how my proposal for implementing instant replay could have impacted the postseason focuses on the deciding Game 5 of the NLDS series between the St. Louis Cardinals and the Washington Nationals.

The Nats had jumped to an early six run lead, but the Cardinals kept chipping away at it. By the 9th inning, they had cut the deficit to 7-5.  But after a leadoff double, they had two quick outs and it did not look they would have another miracle comeback like in Game 6 of the 2011 World Series.  But a walk put the tying run on base and the Redbirds faithful still had some hope.  With a 1-2 count on David Freese, Drew Storen threw a slider just off the plate.  Freese started to offer at it and then held up.  Or did he?

Friday, November 2, 2012

Instant Replay Series: Infield Fly call in wildcard game

The first controversial play of this postseason, was in the very first wildcard game between the Cardinals and the Braves.   Let me refresh your memory:  In the bottom of the 8th inning, the Braves were down 6-3 but rallying.  They had runners on 1st and 2nd with only 1 out and Andrelton Simmons at bat, with Brian McCann on deck.  Simmons hit a bloop/pop fly into shallow left field.  Cardinal shortstop Pete Kozma sprinted back for it and looked like he was under it, and at the last second he peeled off, presumably to let Matt Holliday take it.  But Holliday never took charge and it fell untouched, as the Braves runners scrambled to advance safely to their next base.  But in the midst of all this, an infield fly was called, and Simmons was declared out.  The short version of what ensued was lots of arguing, Braves fans showing their displeasure by littering the field with anything they could throw, a long delay, Atlanta playing the game under protest, the ruling being upheld and the Cardinals advanced to the LDS, and went on to win the World Series (ok, so maybe the last part may not have happened this year).  Here is the video:
The Braves thought that the infield fly should not have been called, and the bases should have been loaded with only one out.  And it left a bad taste in people's mouths on the way future Hall of Famer Chipper Jones' career ended. How could my instant replay proposal have been applied here?