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What Were You Looking At Angel?

May 10, 2013 - Al Stephenson
If you are a baseball fan, you have seen the replays of the home run the Oakland A's had taken away from them in the ninth inning of Wednesday's game against the Cleveland Indians. The blow would have tied the game at 4 in the top of the ninth. Instead second base umpire and crew chief Angel Hernandez ruled the ball hit below the yellow line and was therefore a double.

OK, that call does not bother anyone as Hernandez was a long way from the play. When A's manager Bob Melvin came out to request the umpires go review the hit no one was overly concerned. After all the purpose of having replay requests of potential home runs has been around long enough that most people support the plan.

As TV viewers were showed the video replays - slowed down and highlighted - it was obvious that the ball hit off the railing above the yellow line and the correct call would be forthcoming when the umpires returned to the field. Except that is not what happened.

Hernandez took two of the other three umpires with him to review the play and decided that there was not enough evidence to overturn the call. Melvin of course was incensed and came flying out to the dugout to argue. You can't do that according to the rules and he was ejected.

What that leaves us with is a whole bunch of questions. Just what did Hernandez see on the replays that no one else did? Did the other two umpires agree with the crew chief or did they just let him make the decision? I don't know if we will ever know the answer to either of these questions.

As is usually the case, I have some theories. 1) Hernandez has a grudge against the A's. 2) Hernandez doesn't like the replay rule and decided to ignore it. 3) Hernandez, as the saying goes, is "blind" as a bat.

I know none of those theories make sense, but then again neither does the decision. Keep in mind that the Indians may well have gone on to win the game, but there is no doubt that Oakland got hosed.

The view from my seat suggests that baseball has to do something about this obvious mistake. Whether that is to fine or suspend Hernandez, change the rule or whatever - I don't know. But to ignore the gaffe is just not right.


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