The overwhelming weight of opinion among baseball commentators this morning is that Bud Selig should step in, overturn Angel Hernandez’s bad call of the Adam Rosales non-home-run and force the Indians and A’s to reply the remainder of that game from that point, with the game tied.
Buster Olney, Ken Rosenthal and Jon Paul Morosi, among many others are arguing that in columns and on Twitter. Olney’s reasoning is the general thinking:
The commissioner can change this, immediately.
There is precedent, of course, and George Brett knows all about this. In 1983, he hit a go-ahead home run against the Yankees, and the umpires called him out because they ruled he had too much pine tar on his bat. Upon further review of the call, American League president Lee MacPhail reversed that decision — which was the right thing to do — from the point of Brett’s home run, with the Royals leading 5-4.
I get the appeal of that argument. But to think that Major League Baseball will use that as “precedent” is to ignore the fact that overruling the pine tar call and replaying the game created no precedent whatsoever. That game was replayed, yes. But since then there have been hundreds — probably thousands — of clearly botched calls in baseball, and I can’t think of any other games that have been replayed following a Commissioner’s overturn of the calls. There may have been a couple. I seriously doubt there have been more than three, if that.
Which isn’t to say that replaying the game wouldn’t be the right thing. It certainly would be the fair thing. It would not, however, represent the upholding of precedent, as that word is understood among people who make decisions about important matters. To the contrary, the pine tar game and any other replayed game are the outliers. The exceptions to the rules. They’re the 1983 slip opinion from a lower court in a far flung jurisdiction which, however instructive, is not at all binding.
More relavent precedent? Major League Baseball’s ignoring blown calls as if it were required to do so, citing the “human element” and making some reference to “a can of worms,” shrugging its shoulders and hoping to God that one game’s outcome will not impact a playoff race. That’s like Supreme Court precedent for Bud Selig. And is exactly what will happen here, I wager.
Update (11:09 PM EDT):
From unlucky to lucky, the Cardinals maintained their position in the National League Wild Card race with walk-off victory over the Reds on Thursday night.
The Cardinals went into the top of the ninth with a 3-2 lead over the Reds, but saw the game tied when Scott Schebler dribbled a two-strike, two out ground ball down the third base line. It seemed as if the baseball gods had turned their backs on the Cardinals.
In the bottom of the ninth against reliever Blake Wood, Matt Carpenter drew a one-out walk. Randal Grichuk then struck out, leaving all of the Cardinals’ hopes on Yadier Molina. Molina went ahead 2-0 in the count, then ripped a 95 MPH fastball to left field. The ball bounced high and over the left field fence for what seemed like an obvious ground-rule double. Carpenter motored around third base and scored the winning run.
The Cardinals poured onto the field in celebration and the umpires walked off the field. Manager Bryan Price wanted to have the play reviewed, but when he went onto the field, the umpires were nowhere to be found. Price chased after them but to no avail. As the Cardinals left the field and the stadium emptied, the Reds remained in the dugout. The Reds’ relievers were left in a bit of purgatory, standing aimlessly in left field after exiting the bullpen. Finally, the game was announced as complete over the P.A. system at Busch Stadium. The results are great if you’re a Cardinals fan, but terrible if you’re a Mets or Giants fan.
As Jon Morosi points out, the rules clearly state that the signage above the fence in left field is out of the field of play. The umpires got it wrong.
Price, however, also took too long to speak to the umpires. Per Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch:
If this happened between two teams playing a meaningless game, it would’ve been a lot easier to swallow, but Thursday’s Reds-Cardinals game had implications on not only the Cardinals’ future, but the Mets’ and Giants’ as well.
Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman went 0-for-4 during Thursday’s win against the Phillies, snapping his hitting streak at 30 games. It marked the longest hitting streak of the 2016 season. Freeman’s streak of 46 consecutive games reaching base safely ended as well.
The longest hitting streak in Atlanta Braves history belongs to Dan Uggla, who hit in 33 consecutive games in 2011. Tommy Holmes hit in 37 straight for the Boston Braves in 1945.
During his hitting streak, Freeman hit .384/.485/.670 with 11 doubles, seven home runs, 27 RBI, and 26 runs scored in 136 plate appearances. That padded what were already very strong numbers on the season. After Thursday’s game, Freeman is overall batting .306/.404/.572 with 33 home runs, 88 RBI< and 101 runs scored in 677 plate appearances.