Thursday, October 24, 2013
Crowd seemed to sway the umps
By Buster Olney
BOSTON -- For years, showing instant replay of a controversial calls on the big screen in major league ballparks has been verboten, with the theory being that a wrong decision by an umpire might spur fan wrath that could spill onto the field.
Someone sitting at home watching television has had a better understanding of what had just happened than the folks who had paid premium seat prices to go to the ballpark, because of access to replay.
By rule, teams were not allowed to have television monitors in their dugouts to give them an immediate look at the instant replay, and this is why players, managers and coaches would go sprinting into their respective clubhouses to watch the television feed. When you watch NFL games, you often see coaches and players staring up at the big screen after a contested call to get a look at it, and reacting, along with the crowd. For many years, this has not been the case in Major League Baseball, because teams are told they can only show the replays in the concourses and in the private suites.
Earlier in the American League's postseason, there was a disputed call shown on the big screen, with the crowd reacting to the replay; I wish I could remember exactly which game it was, but I remember being surprised by the replay, thinking it had been shown accidentally.
But you do wonder if the fallout from replay within Fenway Park had some bearing on the umpires' decision to reverse Dana DeMuth's incorrect call in the first inning of Game 1 of the World Series.
If you watched, you will recall the situation: Matt Carpenter fielded a ground ball from David Ortiz, flipped it to Pete Kozma, and with Dustin Pedroia bearing down on Kozma, the Cardinals' shortstop failed to catch the ball.
Except that DeMuth, umpiring at second base, called Pedroia out.
"He dropped it," Pedroia said to DeMuth, who countered that Kozma had mishandled the ball on the transfer.
Pedroia got up and jogged off the field, figuring that was that, because that type of play hasn't typically been overturned or discussed. Red Sox Manager John Farrell came out to argue, acknowledging later that he wasn't necessarily expecting the call to be changed.
In the concourses and private boxes, instant replay of the Kozma play was shown, and there was a burst of response from angry Red Sox fans from the inner recesses of the ballpark. Some Red Sox fans thought they saw the replay on the big screen in center field, but that did not happen, according to baseball officials.
But you would have had to have been deaf not to hear the outcry from fans who had seen the replay, and so we'll always be left to wonder if that response was part of the reason why the umpires slowly came together to discuss the call and, eventually, overturn it. An unusual decision with an undefined process, and in the end, the right call, which didn't help the seething Mike Matheny to loosen the jaw that remained clenched hours after the reversal.
Matheny said that when he made his case to the umpires, "[DeMuth's] explanation is that's not a play I've ever seen before. And I'm pretty sure there were six umpires on the field that had never seen that play before, either. It's a pretty tough time to debut that overruled call in the World Series. Now, I get that trying to get the right call, I get that. Tough one to swallow."
When the general managers met last fall, MLB executive Joe Torre provided a progress report on the slow development of instant replay, explaining that some of the contingencies and processes needed to be ironed out -- and the tidal wave of response was that MLB should worry less about addressing all the details and focus more on just getting as many calls right as possible.
This is what happened in Game 1: The right call was made and the right outcome was reached, no matter how they got there.
(And hopefully, as Major League Baseball implements replay, they also will allow teams to show replay on the big screens.)
Dana DeMuth says it's the umpires' job to get the call right.
And the Cardinals now have to deal with the uncertain status of Carlos Beltran, who is really sore.
• Clay Buchholz has one start left, maybe, because of shoulder fatigue, writes Peter Abraham.
It's going to be one and done for Buchholz.
Buchholz was said to sound uncertain in speaking about his Game 4 start with reporters. The Red Sox could always change it up, if Buchholz continues to feel less than his best.
• The Red Sox were the whole show in Game 1, writes Dan Shaughnessy.
• Jon Lester came up big again.
ESPN Stats & Information has a full breakdown on how Lester dominated the Cardinals.
The teaming of Lester and veteran catcher David Ross has been difference-making for Lester, it seems, with Ross being able to coax him into using his full repertoire. He used his curveball early in the game, went to his backdoor cutter and, in the end, was throwing his changeup.
• There was a lot of speculation in cyberspace about Jon Lester and whether he was using a foreign substance gooped up on his glove. I got this response from MLB's Pat Courtney:
"We cannot draw any conclusions from this video. There were no complaints from the Cardinals and the umpires never detected anything indicating a foreign substance throughout the game."
• The Cardinal way was the wrong way in Game 1, writes Bernie Miklasz.
• It's Wacha time again.
• David Ortiz has at least two hits and two RBIs in each of the three World Series Game 1s he has played. He is the first player in MLB history with three straight multihit, multiRBI games in World Series openers.
• And so ends one of the strangest chapters in baseball this year: Don Mattingly is coming back and there are indications the team will talk about a multiyear extension, writes Ramona Shelburne. He will manage at least for 2014, writes Dylan Hernandez.
It's hard to figure why the Dodgers let this play out the way it did. If they were comfortable giving Mattingly an extension, then why didn't they let him know that before the press conference Monday, when Mattingly was guaranteed to be asked, among the first few questions, about his job status? At the moment that presser began, all Mattingly knew from the Dodgers was silence; he didn't know what his status was, and from that murkiness, he answered the questions the way that he did. And his frustration was apparent.
If they had simply given him a heads up that discussions about a multiyear deal were forthcoming, then Mattingly wouldn't have been so agitated.
This is the right decision, writes Jill Painter.
World Series ticket costs
From Chris Matcovich of TiqIQ, the latest data on the secondary ticket market for the World Series:
The current series average price is $1,018.77
Red Sox home games: $1,486.11
Cardinals home games: $819.93
• The current average price for Game 2 (in Boston) is $1,212.62 (a 12.07 percent increase from yesterday -- $1,081.98) with a get in of $442 (a 17.87 percent increase from yesterday -- $375).
• The most expensive ticket is in Dugout Box 38 Row 2 for $5,500-plus.
• Below is a break down of average price for each game in the Series ("get-in" price in parentheses)
Game 1: $756.86 ($308)
Game 2: $1,212.62 ($442)
Game 3: $795.92 ($398)
Game 4: $774.33 ($401)
Game 5: $851.13 ($358)
Game 6: $1,589.73 ($618)
Game 7: $1,841.72 ($733)
Below is the average price by series and team for the last few World Series:
• 2010: Giants vs. Rangers: $1,317.80
• 2011: Cardinals vs Rangers: $902.76
• 2012: Giants vs. Tigers: $963.13
Moves, deals and decisions
1. The Tim Lincecum deal was bad for the Phillies, explains David Murphy.
I'd respectfully disagree -- this deal won't have an effect on other deals, I don't think, because it's such an outlier. The industry is going nuts about the Lincecum contract, with club execs and agents astonished by the dollars. I'd hate to be the agents for Ubaldo Jimenez and Ervin Santana, because they'll have to explain to their clients the unique set of circumstances that came together for Lincecum to get a deal with an average annual value of $17.5 million.
Joel Sherman spoke to Giants assistant general manager Bobby Evans about the decision.
2. The Yankees are interested in a pitcher from Korea.
3. Ramon Santiago is still waiting to hear about his status for 2014.
4. The Tigers' payroll may prevent them from going after prime free agents.
5. Lloyd McClendon has a real shot at the Tigers' managerial job, writes Tom Gage.
6. Ozzie Guillen is open to coaching third base.
7. Kirk Gibson is not worried about his contract situation.
8. The Dodgers traded an infielder to the Red Sox.
9. The Mariners are beginning the process of finding a replacement for Eric Wedge.
By the numbers (From ESPN Stats & Information)
62: Percent of the time the Game 1 winner goes on to the win the World Series -- the Game 1 winner has won 21 of the last 25 World Series.
40: Years since a player hit into a 1-2-3 double play in the World Series, which David Freese did in the 4th inning Wednesday. The last to do so was the Mets' John Milner in 1973.
3: Pitchers to throw at least seven scoreless innings in Game 1 of the last 25 World Series; Jon Lester joined Oakland's Dave Stewart (1989) and Cincinnati's Jose Rijo (1990). They each won Series MVP honors in their team's title wins.
• For some, Bryan Price's qualities are not a secret.
• Cal Ripken Jr. offered some memories of the Orioles' title in 1983.
• The Nationals are worth a whole lot of money. The Royals are not worth as much.
• Here's the latest on the A-Rod case, from the Daily News.
• A poll that could lead to change: The Indians are asking fans what they think of Chief Wahoo.
And today will be better than yesterday.