May 10, 2013

Major League Notebook: Umpires blew homer call

The Associated Press

CLEVELAND - Major League Baseball said the umpires were wrong.

The Oakland Athletics knew that all along.

"We saw what we saw (Wednesday) night," Manager Bob Melvin said.

A day after umpire Angel Hernandez and his crew failed to reverse an obvious game-tying homer by Adam Rosales of the A's in the ninth inning following a video review, MLB executive vice president Joe Torre said an "improper call" was made in Wednesday's game between the Indians and Athletics.

But despite pointing out the critical error, Torre said the "judgment" call will stand. The Indians won 4-3 and went on to sweep the four-game series with a 9-2 victory Thursday.

Melvin, who was in contact with MLB officials since shortly after Wednesday's game, said he never thought the ruling would be overturned.

"No, I didn't think there was any chance," he said, "because there had been calls before that have been missed and nothing's happened because of it."

But few seemed as egregious as this error.

Torre, the former Yankees manager, made it clear the umpires had blown the call.

"By rule, the decision to reverse a call by use of instant replay is at the sole discretion of the crew chief," Torre said. "In the opinion of Angel Hernandez, who was (Wednesday) night's crew chief, there was not clear and convincing evidence to overturn a decision on the field. It was a judgment call, and as such stands as final.

"Home and away broadcast feeds are available for all uses of instant replay, and they were available to the crew. Given what we saw, we recognize that an improper call was made. Perfection is an impossible standard in any endeavor, but our goal is always to get the calls right. We began the process of speaking with the crew to thoroughly review all the circumstances surrounding the decision."

Before MLB's ruling, Melvin said he still believed he witnessed a home run and nothing will change his mind.

The decision not to reverse the call was the talk of the sports world with everyone seeming to agree the A's had been wronged. Retired Atlanta third baseman Chipper Jones didn't mince words.

"What good is instant replay if u don't have umpires who interpret it correctly?" Jones wrote on Twitter. "Some course of action has to be taken w/ umps. Even worse than that, there were 2 other umpires looking at it with him. What the hell were they lookin at?? Musta been "get away day"!

In New York, Mets Manager Terry Collins said that human error is part of the game.

"Once in a while we're going to make a mistake. I will always defend that," he said. "Pretty soon this game is going to be played by robots and we'll all be watching it."

ORIOLES: Starter Miguel Gonzalez was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a right thumb blister.

Gonzalez is 2-2 with a 4.58 ERA in six starts this season. He left his last start May 3 against the Angels after six innings because of a blister.

INDIANS: Center fielder Michael Bourn was activated from the 15-day disabled list.

Bourn had been sidelined since slicing open his right index finger while diving into first base April 14. He was eligible to return April 30 but the cut didn't heal in time and Bourn needed some extra time.

BLUE JAYS: Left-hander Ricky Romero was optioned to Triple-A Buffalo and right-hander Edgar Gonzalez was designated for assignment.

Romero lasted just one-third of an inning in Wednesday night's 10-4 loss at Tampa Bay, the shortest start of his career.

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