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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

3 comments have been left for this article. (Click to hide comments)

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SaberTJ

The more amazing thing about this play is that unlike other more common umpire mistakes where its about a play at a base and you have no proof other than what your eyes tell you.

This play offered the umpire a chance to ensure the fielder had the ball in his glove just like any other catch in the field of play. Not sure this is one of the worst calls ever, but it sure has a chance to be the laziest.

Jun 27, 2012 05:24 AM
rating: 4
 
hessshaun

I would pay to hear that conversation.

Jun 27, 2012 06:35 AM
rating: 0
 
JayStellmach

Doesn't the rulebook state that it's not an out until the fielder removes the ball from his glove? (see the Gene Richards inside-the-park home run from 1982: http://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/ATL/ATL198209260.shtml) So instant replay not needed here: the ump flat-out screwed up; he needed to see Wise pull the ball out of the glove for it to be an out.

Jun 27, 2012 06:52 AM
rating: 2
 
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