Posted October 24, 2013

Watch: Kozma mishandles throw, umps overturn initial missed call early in Game 1

World Series

GIF: here's the called out that umpires huddled and (correctly) overruled. Error on Kozma.

Who needs replay?

With men on first and second and one out in the bottom of the first inning of Game 1 of the World Series, Boston’s David Ortiz hit a ground ball to Cardinals second baseman Matt Carpenter. Carpenter flipped to shortstop Pete Kozma covering second base hoping for an inning-ending double play, but Kozma, perhaps overeager to make the pivot, let Carpenter’s throw glance off the pinkie of his glove.

Second base umpire Dana DeMuth ruled that Kozma dropped the ball on the transfer, though he was likely the only person who saw the play live who thought that was the case. Check out the GIF above courtesy of @BuzzFeedSports:

Fortunately, at the prompting of Boston manager John Farrell, the umpires conferred to discuss the call and overturned DeMuth, getting the call right and leaving the bases loaded with one out. Mike Napoli then followed with a bases-clearing double to put the Red Sox up 3-0, suggesting that DeMuth’s call, had it stood, would have cost the Red Sox a run. Fortunately, that early controversy was averted.

49 comments
RCH
RCH

How an ump that has earned the right to work the series by being the best during the season makes that kind of call is beyond me. His integrity has to be questioned after that. 

Personally I think he should have been dismissed about  2 seconds after the game ended.

SusanHuskey
SusanHuskey

I think a big part of the "controversy" as well is that they didn't huddle up right after it happened but they waited until the Red Sox manager came out there and asked them to talk about it. They should have talked about it right away.

amorosotom
amorosotom

When a call is so obviously wrong, a ump huddle maintains the integrity of the game. One remembers the horrible call that deprived a pitcher of a perfect game last year.  A huddle there might have saved some embarrassment but then someone might say it was a changed call to make a better story for the headlines. I guess video challenge will help a lot next year. Also, why can't we have a computer call balls and strikes? Faster and fairer. 

SweetLightCrude
SweetLightCrude

I'm not understanding where the controversy is. Is there anyone who thinks the end result was not the correct result? Is there anyone who thinks umps conferring and correcting an obvious mistake is some sort of problem? I can get it must have been disappointing for Cards fans to have a call that when their way overturned. I can get that there have been instances in the past when bad calls were not corrected. But I'm having a hard time seeing any basis for complaint here. It would be hard for me to take seriously someone who serioulsy argued that it would have been better or more correct that Pedroia were ruled out on that play. How could anyone have felt good about that?

justsaying342
justsaying342

The ARod slap is not the same thing. The reason it is not is because first, the first base umpire (Marsh) acknowledged he did not have a clear view of the ARod/Arroyo contact, and second, ARod broke the interference rule during the play. That is when rule 6.02c comes into play, where an appeal IS allowed because the decision would be in conflict with the rules of baseball, i.e. the interference rule.

Last nights call had no such extenuating circumstances.The Umpire was in perfect position, and no other rules were in play.

Rule 6.02a is the FUNDAMENTAL judgement rule in baseball. It is the rule that covers balls/strikes, fair/foul balls, and plays at the plate. Managers and players are thrown out all the time for arguing judgement calls. And, I have never seen a judgement call reversed during the argument unless some other rule comes into play or the Umpire appeals for help. Until last night.

The rules are there to provide a consistent and impartial way to enforce fairness. Usually the Umpires get it right, rarely they get it wrong. However, when they are violating their own rules (even to get it right), then they are undermining the whole purpose of the rules.

The occasional bad call has been the accepted tradeoff to provide immediate rulings on the field. While the Umpires are very good, they are still human and they will make mistakes. But baseball accepts that error rate to keep the game flowing. And, it is thought that bad calls "even out" over time.

The controversy is not about the call being right or wrong on the field. The changed call was definitely the right call. The controversy is that the Umpires broke their own rules to change the call, i.e. they changed a judgement call.

How many times have we heard phrases like  "There are no rules in place to change the call", "The rules do not allow a review of that call", etc. when discussing a bad call ? And how many Managers have been tossed for arguing a bad call?

Again, I will mention the Galarraga/Joyce perfect game blown call. Even though everyone admits it was wrong, and it would be trivial to correct it since the next batter was out anyway, that correction has still not been made. Because it was a judgement call. An ESPN survey at the time showed over 80% of players did not want the incorrect call reversed. Bad calls are an expected part of the game.

Yet, now, in the World Series, when the big market, East Coast Boston Red Sox are playing the small market, Midwest Cardinals, the Umpires break their own rules to change a judgement call. So, when you compare that correction to all the other non-corections throughout Baseball, it smacks of favoritism and just looks bad.


amorosotom
amorosotom

Tim McCarver.  He's such a motormouth.  And he's always such a "happy talk" gee whiz ain't everyone just great. Contributes nothing to the game in terms of human interest or enlightenment.  

Oldjoker1212
Oldjoker1212

Wow. It happened in the first inning. Yup really affected the rest of the game(series) Right Steve dehater??

Jai2
Jai2

What controversy was there again? The umps getting it wrong in the first place when he COULDN'T SEE THE PLAY is the only controversy. The other 5 umps did great

playemball
playemball

A blown call is simply that..a blown call..they corrected it..a lot of baseball left, play ball!

SavdByTecnology
SavdByTecnology

Wow Cliff, you REALLY need to proofread your posts:

"flipped to shortstop Pete Kozma covering first base"

"Second base umpire Dana DeMuth ruled that Kozma dropped the ball on the transfer"

StevedeKater
StevedeKater

There is no doubt that the original call was incorrect.  My problem is the fact that you had an umpire right there, he was in perfect position, and he made the call, as bad as it was.  What do you do now?  Every time there is a bad call, do you huddle up and vote?  This opens up a whole can of worms, because there are any number of scenarios where a bad call could lead to a play going on (or not) and how do you remedy that?  What if this had been the third out, the Cardinals left the field, but the Red Sox kept running the bases?

As bad as the call was, bad calls are part of the game, and must be allowed to stand.  Another point- what would they have done if one or two of the crew had said they thought it was a good call?  Is it something that has to be simply a majority, or do they all have to agree?  And why is it that the umpire closest to the play gets overruled by the rest of the crew?  I can see consulting other umps if the umpire whose call it was had been screened or was out of position, but this clearly was not the case.

Finally, this umpire should be taken out of the Series solely on the basis of this being such a horribly bad call.  Even Don Denkinger thought this was a bad call.

Roy1
Roy1

What would be controversial would be if they watched a replay on the videoboard to change the call.  

TerrapinStation87
TerrapinStation87

Controversy? What controversy? It wasn't even close to being an out, and the other umps came in to get it right. It wasn't even close. No controversy.

SweetLightCrude
SweetLightCrude

@SusanHuskey There is an omerta among umps that is kind of offputting. There is some sense of honor they think they need to preserve, and that keeps them from ratting each other out. 

Still: In this case, the video evidence leaves no room for dispute. It's ridiculous we're even talking about it. Kozma didn't catch it; the umps got the call right. 

It's really rather stupid that we're trying to figure out whether this was right or wrong, and why.


joe6647
joe6647

@amorosotom a machine calling balls and strikes would take away Umps jobs.  No way the umpire union lets that happen

bserious
bserious

@SweetLightCrude yeah, I think the only way someone can find a bad call being corrected controversial is if the person's team was the one that would have benefited from the bad call, and to put it simply, they desire to see their team win far outweighs their desire to see the game called fairly.  These people would obviously never try to craft some strange argument that 'overall, from an objective standpoint, having bad calls overturned is wrong', if the one bad call being discussed had actually hurt their team.  The ability of fans to come up with bizarre justifications for holding a point of view that is so obviously in error never ceases to amaze me.

StevedeKater
StevedeKater

@justsaying342 Very good analysis.  When I first saw the play, I couldn't believe it.  Then when the umps all got together, I started thinking, "There's no way they can change this, is there?"  When they did, I was amazed!  I immediately started to think of all of the ramifications of changing calls after the play.  What if they rule an outfielder trapped a ball, and the base runners advance, then they get together and rule that he actually caught the ball?  Is the batter then out?  What about the baserunners?  Or just the opposite?  They rule a catch, but later change it to a trapped ball, but the runner on third was thrown out trying to tag up?  If it wasn't caught, he wouldn't have had to tag up and might have beaten the throw.

The call on the field has to stand, plain and simple.  I don't know how replay is going to work.  Maybe on fair/foul situations, bases empty situations, it might be feasible.  But with runners on base, it is going to create a whole new set of problems.  What do you do about the "neighborhood " play at second base on double plays?  I would challenge that all of the time if I was managing.  With high def close-ups, how will they be able to call a guy out when it will be obvious that the second baseman/SS was not on the bag with the ball on many occasions? 

SweetLightCrude
SweetLightCrude

@justsaying342 That's nonsense. The umpire did not have his judgment questioned. He admitted he did not see what happened. The other umpires did. All 5 of them.

The umpire accepted the input of other umpires because he knew he did not have the correct information to make a judgment. 

The idea that this has not happened before is silly. Umpires confer with some regularity. You know it. Hey lookie! Here's a clip I found after, oh, 10 seconds of searching. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6_Ohtd3TWDI

Baseball is actively encouraging this, having introduced replay on homeruns and, next year replay on this very kind of play.

That incorrect calls in the past have been made and not corrected is, really, not a good argument. It's silly to suggest that because Galleraga was incorrectly denied a perfect game there is some rationale for allowing bad calls in the future to stand as a way of evening thigns up.

Bringing the size of the markets into it is pretty much icing on the stupid cake.  Plus you spell judgment wrong. You're a nitwit. 


bserious
bserious

@StevedeKaterIf you read a bit more about it, or watched the whole game, you'd have heard what the procedure the umps use is.  Torre explained it later in the broadcast, and the SL Post Dispatch explained it as well: "If there is a call in question and there has been an argument from one of the managers, the ump who made the call can take clues from his colleagues. If they stay back, the umps didn't see the play or don't have a different opinion from the call, MLB executive Joe Torre explained. If they converge from their different spots in the field, then they saw something different. On DeMuth's call in the first inning, they converged."  Also, if you watched the game, you would have heard the audio of the crew chief telling Matheny that the other 5 umps all were sure it was not an out.  Regarding your can of worms argument, no, the world will not come to an end because of this, umps aren't going to start huddling after every close play, it will only happen when other umps are totally sure the call was incorrect, otherwise, they won't huddle, your wish to have terrible calls stand will be granted, and you'll happily be able to see teams get screwed by what people see on TV are glaring umpire mistakes - well, at least until video review comes in.

KevinDoucette
KevinDoucette

@StevedeKater Being a fan of neither team I can say that I believe what they did was correct. "Being allowed to stand" is just ridiculous. We're not saying they had to use replay. they just talked about it. If they have to huddle up twice a game then so be it. The main thing is to get it right. That's it. 

Forget about the "whole can of worms" issue as well. No need to worry about other calls until they happen. Again they umps need to do Whatever they need to do to get the calls right. that's it.

Jai2
Jai2

@StevedeKater The umpire COULD NOT SEE THE PLAY and he made the call anyway. He was behind the play and excuse me. Hey the umps got it right but he got it wrong the first time so the call should stand/ That makes NO SENSE.

j7apple
j7apple

@StevedeKater  "bad calls are part of the game, and must be allowed to stand"  what ? are you nuts? bad calls Are part of the game, Correct calls are more important.

justsaying342
justsaying342

The controversy is not about the right or wrong final call (right call BTW), but the fact that the Umpires broke their own rules to do it.

BobBell's cited rules are incorrect. The applicable rule is

"9.02 (a) Any umpire's decision which involves judgment, such as, but not limited to, whether a batted ball is fair or foul, whether a pitch is a strike or a ball, or whether a runner is safe or out, is final. No player, manager, coach or substitute shall object to any such judgment decisions."

The 9.02c rule is for an appeal if  "reasonable doubt that any umpire's decision may be in conflict with the rules" and 9.05 is general instructions.

That being said, the original call was clearly wrong. But by reversing a judgement call, they are actually in violation of their own rules. That was the point of changing the rules next year for video review and allowing a judgement call review.

What about Galarraga's perfect game being ruined when Joyce blew the call at first? Or, how about little mistakes such as in the NLCS when Jay was called safe at third when he was actually out? I am not aware of any current provisions in the rules for this type of reversal.

So, when is it okay to NOT follow the rules? Obviously not when there was a perfect game on the line, but what about at a home field during the World Series?


SweetLightCrude
SweetLightCrude

@bserious @SweetLightCrude I love sports, but I think part of the appeal of being a sports fan is that you get to indulge in this kind of tortured thinking. You get to come up with arguments for why something totally illogical or totally wrong, is, really, OK. Fans will argue that blatant cheating—something they would never tolerate from, say, their kids or their friends—is OK or even admirable because, well, it's sports. Fans will insist that a player who is injured could, you know, suck it up and play if he were tough enough—and that it's reasonable to criticize a guy for being hurt. 

Sports is this place where people get to handle disappointment by acting like toddlers. 

SweetLightCrude
SweetLightCrude

@StevedeKater @justsaying342 You don't have to wonder about this. It happens all the time. 

Go to Youtube. Search "Umps confer" or "Umps overturn call." You'll find lots of examples. This has been dealt with many times. The problem you worry about does not exist. Umps already know how to deal with it and deal with it currently. Here's an example.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A4v17dhuGSk

There have also been rules like this on the books for some time. Runners or fielders interference, for example. Fan interference. Umps need to make a call about a play in motion that often continues after the particular event.

It's not a big deal. 


bserious
bserious

@StevedeKater @justsaying342 The question of what happens on a play where a ball to the outfield is incorrectly ruled a trap is a good one, and one I hope has been addressed, just like they've addressed when umps will huddle and when they won't.  I am not an MLB official, so I obviously don't know (just as I didn't know about how they have plans on when to huddle before it was explained last night), but what I would assume they'd say is that the batter is out, and the play is dead after that.  So baserunners would have to return to the base they'd been on, and any bases that might have been advanced to after tagging up, or any outs that might have been gotten to because a runner didn't tag would be nullified.  It wouldn't be all that different than a ground rule double, how a base runner has to go back, even if he easily would have scored had the ball stayed in the yard.  Just because there might be some calls with a little grey area when reversed doesn't mean that no incorrect calls should ever be reversed.

StevedeKater
StevedeKater

@SweetLightCrude @justsaying342 I looked at the link you provided; not exactly the same type of situation.  justsaying342 provided a reasonable, logical, well thought out argument, and you responded in kind, but then you had to resort to pointing out a minor, common spelling error, and turn to childish name calling.  

One of the great things about sports is how fans can argue all day ( for years, in fact) about teams, players, plays, games, calls, etc. knowing that they will NEVER change the mind of the person they are arguing with; that's what makes it fun.  No matter how many times the Red Sox beat the Yankees, or how many times they win the World Series, all I have to do to shut them up for a minute is mention Bucky Dent. No matter how bad a season people want to remind me the Yankees had, or are having, all I have to mention is "27 World Series winners".  On the other hand, mention Bill Mazeroski, or 2004, and I get quiet.  But we don't turn to name calling.

StevedeKater
StevedeKater

@KevinDoucette @StevedeKater I understand the whole idea of getting the call right.  Nobody was a bigger fan of the game of baseball than me, up until recently.  Now I can barely stand to watch it anymore.  I have boxes of baseball books that are downstairs just gathering dust.

I usually watch a game until I see a player make a bonehead play, or not hustle, or see an umpire blow an obvious call, or have a manager or catcher make more than two trips to the mound.  I rarely get to watch more than two or three innings anymore!

On the positive side, that means I don't have to listen to Tim McCarver for too long!

StevedeKater
StevedeKater

@Jai2 @StevedeKater -  How in the world do you come up with "The umpire could not see the play."?  It was right in front of him!  As bad as the call was, it was his call to make, he made it, and it should have stood.  By huddling up and overturning the call, they have set a very bad precedent for the rest of the Series.

StevedeKater
StevedeKater

@j7apple @StevedeKater - You missed my whole point...currently, there is no procedure to overturn calls such as this during the game.  It sets a dangerous precedent .  He was in the perfect position to make the call, he totally blew it, but there should be no recourse.  Now they have set themselves up for the possibility of which ever team has a close call going against them asking for a conference and having the call "reviewed" even though there is nothing in the rules that allows them to do this.


ats1254
ats1254

@justsaying342 There is wiggle room in any rule.  Yes, this rule states that an umpire's decision is final.  That said, there is nothing in the rule that states umpires cannot huddle to review a call before the next pitch when the decision is final.  The umpires did excalty that and reached the correct decision I assume because it was blatantly obvious to the naked eye by a mile.

KevinDoucette
KevinDoucette

@justsaying342 Unbelievable that someone is actually arguing to have a horrible call stay just because they think so. I don't care what the umps have to do as long as they get the call right. They huddle up in football and reverse calls I see no reason why they can't here.

SweetLightCrude
SweetLightCrude

@bserious @SweetLightCrude Agreed—it happens everywhere to a degree. Sports seems to embrace a bit more closely. I mean. My post was written about the SI headline that called this play a "controversy." As you note, that viewpoint is kind of expected from fanboys. But that in the sports world, this is controversial . . . But then come to think of it, after the whole political nonsense of the past few weeks . . . you are correct. 


bserious
bserious

@SweetLightCrude @bserious Well, I never said that the concept of people making strange justifications should be eradicated from the universe, or even that I've never ever done this myself, to some degree.  I just find that the lengths people will go to and how strongly people will argue that logic should be ignored, in order to support a certain belief they want to hold often amazes me.  I would disagree with saying it's part of the appeal of being a sports fan, I'd say it's just part of being human, but it might be seen more in a sports context.  People do the exact same thing when it comes to politics, or in criticizing other drivers for doing something that they also do, or regarding a teacher giving a bad grade to the person or to their child, along with many other mundane parts of life.  It's not exactly exclusive to sports fandom.

justsaying342
justsaying342

@StevedeKater @bserious @SweetLightCrude @justsaying342

I am 100% for the Umps getting together to make the right call.  I think that should have been part of the game from day one. And you see it for years at the High School and Collegiate level.

But MLB has let stand countless bad calls under the auspices of "judgement" and rule 6.02a. By doing that review in the WS and without any announced changes in the rules or rules interpretations, MLB opens themselves up to conspiracy theorists claiming favoritism or homer. That was the point of my tongue-in-cheek conspiracy theorist example of East coast vs Midwest comparison.

I think the rule change for video review is long overdue and is very welcome.

SweetLightCrude : Either judgement or judgment are acceptable spellings. Being wrong about basic facts does not help your argument.

However, I do have a typo at the end where I mis-typed "non-correction". Ironically, missed an "r" in correction. My apologies.


StevedeKater
StevedeKater

@bserious @StevedeKater @SweetLightCrude @justsaying342 Actually, my love for baseball began in the late '50's, and since I grew up on Long Island, it was not surprising that I grew up a Yankees fan.  However,  I am probably as objective as any fan can be, and, truth be told, I am actually pulling for the Red Sox, since I have also been an American League fan from the beginning, and still can't forgive the Cardinals for beating the Yankees in "64.  The main difference now is I really don't care who wins; I watch the game for the pure enjoyment of the game itself, and unfortunately, there is very little left to enjoy.  In an earlier post, I mentioned that I can only watch a game until I see a player make a bonehead play, or an umpire make a horrible call, or the catcher or manager make multiple trips to the mound before I just simply can't watch anymore.  I rarely watch more than two or three innings now.  Up until 1994, I don't think I ever missed even a single pitch of a World Series game; now I miss entire games and could care less.  Yet, a few years ago, one of the cable channels showed Game 7 from the 1960 World Series, and I was glued to the set, hanging on every pitch.  Unbelievably, the Yankees lost again.

You made a lot of assumptions about me, every one of them being wrong.  I would venture a guess that I have forgotten more about this once great game than you or 90% of most fans today will ever know.  


bserious
bserious

@StevedeKater @SweetLightCrude @justsaying342 Heh, ohh, now it makes sense.  I did want to ask why it is you can say that you used to love baseball, but simply can't watch it any more, and why umps getting a call right after first botching it is such a big problem for you, but now I get it.  You're a Yankees fan.  I'm sure that it is a completely unrelated coincidence that when the Yankees were totally dominant, you happened to love baseball, simply because the sport itself was so great. No you think baseball stinks, because the game totally changed, and it has nothing to do with the fact that Yankees don't have the same dominance - something perhaps related to how money seems to be getting spread around slightly better, meaning small market teams aren't dumping their stars as much as they used to, often to the Yankees, simply because they had to, as the small teams couldn't afford the star salaries.  That's pretty funny.  And I'm sure you'll argue all day that you don't like the umps changing the call because it's "just not right" or something, and that your not liking the correct call being made has nothing whatsoever to do with the fact that by getting the call right, the Red Sox, aka. the hated rivals of the Yankees, benefited.  I'm sure you'll even believe this with all your heart, right up until you see the reverse happen, a bad call gets reversed, either to the benefit of the Yankees or to the detriment of the Red Sox, at which point you'll say that changing calls like that is just so wonderful, it's just a great change to the game.  And should the Yankees reload, and start dominating again, you'll coincidentally start loving the game again, and claim that while baseball as a whole had changed for the worse for a few years, suddenly it completely changed for the better.  Now that I understand your perspective, I totally see why when an ump makes a bad call, it should never be changed, even if all the other umps know it was bad - it's a totally logical position to hold.

j7apple
j7apple

@StevedeKater @j7apple I think for the integrity of the game, the end justifies the means. If baseball or any sport becomes so rigid, that the rule book takes precedent  over the correct call, then failure becomes the norm.

They got it right, and I give kudos for the umps for doing this. They get enough bad rap for how often they get it wrong, now grief when they get it right? Really?

BobBell
BobBell

@StevedeKater @j7apple There IS a procedure for overturning calls during the game (see rules 9.02c and 9.05 General Instructions).  The umpires huddle and get the call right.  Rule #1 is get the call right!  Teams can ask for a huddle all they want, but unless the other umpires are 100% sure their colleague missed the call they won't even bother.  I agree it was a horrible call, but it's interesting the gif used to show the play is from approximately the first base umpires position, albeit higher up. 

greybob
greybob

@justsaying342  There is precedent. How about the 2004 ALCS "Arod slap"? That was a "whether a runner is safe or out" call that was reviewed by the umpire crew and rightly reversed. The original incorrect call could have turned the tide of that series. And that clearly had nothing to do with it being a home game...