In the bottom of the first inning last night, BJ Upton hit a ball to center field that hit something. The ball was initially ruled a double, but after checking the replay, the ruling on the field was changed and Upton was awarded a home run.
Here’s where it gets weird. The umpires are only supposed to overturn their call if they see definitive evidence on the replay. And what the umpires actually saw changes depending on who is telling the story. It appears that the Rays’ media were told one story, and the Blue Jays’ media were told another.
According to Todd Kalas, what he was hearing from the umpires is that they did not see the ball hit anything, but know that it hit something beyond the B-ring. So they changed their call based on logic…
Shortly thereafter, Rick Vaughn, the Rays vice president for communications, who can be seen above speaking directly with umpire Joe West, relayed the explanation to the rest of the media including the Blue Jays TV crew, who then relayed what they were told to the audience…
By the explanation Joe West gave to Rick Vaughn, the director of media relations, [the ball] hit a supporting wire that came down on the catwalk. And anything that’s connected to the catwalk is assumed to be part of the catwalk. And it struck a wire and that’s why the ball came down in a different location than Rasmus expected.
It should also be pointed out that neither network had a replay of the ball hitting something. However, the Blue Jays TV crew were told that the call was changed because the ball hit the wire, even though it seems pretty clear that the umpires never saw the ball hit anything.
Of course, in the course of last night’s game, this doesn’t matter as the Jays went on to win. But there is some interesting stuff here to mull in case this ever happens again:
- Did the umpires overstep their jurisdiction by changing the call, or is it OK to assume what happened based on other evidence?
- Did the Rays knowingly, or even accidentally, help cover it up by changing the story given to the media?
- What was told to the Blue Jays in the dugout, and why didn’t they throw more of a fit?
- And if the Jays were told that the umpires were just using deductive reasoning, why didn’t the Jays play the game under protest (which would have been very interesting if the Rays came back and won)?
- And what if this call went against the Rays and they went on to lose?