Umpire admits bad call, Joe Girardi calls for more replay

55 Comments

Umpire Jeff Nelson admitted after Sunday’s game that he botched the call at second base that aided the Tigers in a two-run eighth inning against the Yankees.

Omar Infante was attempting to return to the bag after rounding second on a single, but he was clearly tagged out by Robinson Cano on the play. Nelson called him safe.

“The hand did not get in before the tag, the call was incorrect,” he said. “I had the tag late and the hand going into the bag before the tag on the chest.”

It should have been the third out of the inning, but the Tigers went on to score two runs afterwards.

“Yeah, he was out by I would say five feet,” Cano said. “It is tough, because if it was the right call, it would be 1-0 instead of 3-0.”

Yankees manager Joe Girardi, who was ejected after arguing the call during a pitching change, dedicated a significant portion of his postgame press conference to stumping for replay.

“It’s frustrating,” he said. “I don’t have a problem with Jeff’s effort, I don’t, because he hustled to get to the play. But in this day and age when we have instant replay available to us, it’s got to change. These guys are under tremendous amounts of pressure.

“It is a tough call for him, because the tag is underneath and it’s hard for him to see. And it takes more time to argue and get upset than you get the call right. Too much is at stake. We play 235 days to get to this point, and two calls go against us. We lose it by one run last night.”

Girardi was referring to another poor call on a ball that Robinson Cano beat out in the Game 1 loss. Whether it would have made a difference or not, it definitely stings with the Yankees down two games to none as they head to Detroit for Tuesday’s Game 3.

Imagining Theo Epstein in politics

Getty Images
3 Comments

“When Alexander saw the breadth of his domain, he wept for there were no more worlds to conquer.”

Or: “When Theo Epstein won World Series championships with the two most championship-starved franchises in baseball history, he got bored, and decided to run for the Senate or something.”

That latter bit is the premise of a Politico piece speculating that the Cubs president could go into politics one day. The story features an interview with former Obama chief strategist David Axlerod, who thinks Theo has what it takes. Mostly what he has is fame, popularity, good looks and money. No idea what his positions on issue are, but that other stuff goes a long way in politics these days.

Bonus: given what we just elected last fall, a guy who once had a little temper tantrum and dressed up in a gorilla suit is just as viable a candidate as anyone.

Another interestingly named player is promoted by the Pirates

Getty Images
2 Comments

When you promote a player from the minors, the first and foremost consideration is whether or not he can help your ball club. But, assuming that’s taken care of, teams should really, really make it a priority to call up dudes with cool sounding names because it makes life more interesting for the rest of us.

The Pirates are doing that. The other night Dovydas Neverauskas made his big league debut. In addition to being the first Lithuanian born-and-raised player in major league history, it’s a solid, solid name. Now the Pirates are making another promotion: Gift Ngoepe.

Yep, Gift Ngoepe. He’s an infielder from South Africa, making the leap to the bigs due to David Freese‘s hamstring injury. Ngoepe, 27, was batting just .241/.308/.379 through 66 plate appearances this season with Triple-A Indianapolis, his ninth in the minors, so he’s not exactly a prospect. But man, that’s a killer name.

It’s also worth mentioning that Gift and Neverauskas were arrested together in a bar fight last August in Toledo, so there is already a good basis for some bonding here.

Good luck, Gift. Gift Ngoepe. Mr. Ngoepe. G-Ngo. Man, I could do this all day.