Last night, Josh Hamilton did what he's being paid to do, he hit a home run. However, the umpiring crew of Kerwin Danley, CB Bucknor, Doug Eddings, and Dana DeMuth (crew chief) decided they weren't going to do what they were being paid to do when they figured it wasn't worth their time to use instant replay to make the correct call on Hamilton's blast (here's the play: LINK). Fortunately the blown call didn't impact the game as the Rangers went on to beat the Orioles with a run in the bottom of the 9th.
Hamilton's hit clearly left the park when it cleared the left field wall, however the problem, at least to second base umpire Eddings, happened when the ball hit what looked like a support beam behind the wall and bounced back over the fence. When looking at the replay, there's no doubt the ball had left the field, yet the replay was arrogantly ignored and was never reviewed which is the procedure for questionable home run calls. Here's what DeMuth had to say after reviewing the replay after the game:
"I just looked at the replay and saw that the ball hit the back part of the wall," umpiring crew chief Dana DeMuth said. "The deal with the replay, which is a great tool that Major League Baseball has put onto us, is a tool that I probably should have used and I did not. Just like a team's manager has a trust in their team, I have a trust in my umpire and my umpire that was out on that call [Doug Eddings] didn't feel there was any question in his mind. He felt 100 percent sure on it. He didn't come to me."
Almost the identical situation happened in last night's Red Sox-Twins game when David Ortiz's long fly ball hit off the top of the Green Monster for a home run.
Third-base umpire Jerry Layne thought it hit off the Monster instead of over it.
After a couple of minutes of tape review, Layne emerged from the third-base dugout and signaled home run, much to the delight of the Fenway faithful. The two-run shot gave the Red Sox a 2-1 lead over the Twins.
Why have a procedure in place when it's going to be ignored by the men who are charged to use it?