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June 26, 2012

BP Unfiltered

Today in Entirely Speculative Out Calls

by Ben Lindbergh

Everyone cuts corners. Yeah, if you don't do the reading for class, you probably won't get called on. Sure, that stadium is probably up to code. And that left fielder who fell into the stands? He probably held on to the ball. It's always easier not to do an inspection.

Most of the time, cutting corners doesn't come back to bite you. When it does, it can be embarrassing. In the top of the eighth inning of the Yankees-Indians game on Tuesday night, Jack Hannahan fouled a ball into the stands down the left-field line. DeWayne Wise dove in after it. Here's what happened next (telestrating courtesy of Michael Kay).

Third-base umpire Mike DiMuro assumed the ball was in Wise's glove, even though it was being brandished by a fan more or less in front of his face. In his defense, that could have been another baseball that the fan just happened to be holding. Baseballs all tend to look the same. And really, it's impossible to establish chain of custody when a fielder disappears into the stands—no umpire can know whether a player bobbled the ball behind the fence and put it back in his glove. But checking to see whether it's in there when the dust has settled is the least he can do. DiMuro didn't do it.

Between half-innings, Hannahan watched the replay—a novel idea!—and came back considerably less happy. DiMuro was also displeased.

DiMuro was contrite after the game, but the refrain is the same. Rabble rabble instant replay. Rinse and repeat.

Ben Lindbergh is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
Click here to see Ben's other articles. You can contact Ben by clicking here

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