CLEVELAND — Major League Baseball says the umpires were wrong.
That doesn’t help the Oakland Athletics.
One day after umpire Angel Hernandez and his crew failed to reverse an obvious home run by A’s infielder Adam Rosales following a video review, MLB executive vice president Joe Torre said an “improper call” was made in the ninth inning of Wednesday’s game between the Indians and Athletics.
However, despite pointing out the mistake, Torre said the disputed call will stand. The Indians won 4-3.
“By rule, the decision to reverse a call by use of instant replay is at the sole discretion of the crew chief,” Torre said in a statement released during Thursday’s series finale. “In the opinion of Angel Hernandez, who was last night’s crew chief, there was not clear and convincing evidence to overturn the decision on the field. It was a judgment call, and as such, it stands as final.
“Home and away broadcast feeds are available for all uses of instant replay, and they were available to the crew last night. Given what we saw, we recognize that an improper call was made. Perfection is an impossible standard in any endeavor, but our goal is always to get the calls right. Earlier this morning, we began the process of speaking with the crew to thoroughly review all the circumstances surrounding last night’s decision.”
Before MLB’s ruling, A’s manager Bob Melvin said he still believed he witnessed a home run and nothing will change his mind.
With two outs, Rosales sent a drive to left that appeared to clear the 19-foot-high outfield wall and strike a railing. Melvin asked Hernandez and his crew to review the hit, and three umpires left the field to view replays in a designated area near their dressing room.
After a lengthy delay, the umpires returned to the field and instructed Rosales to stay at second, a decision that shocked the A’s, the Indians, 14,000 fans in attendance at Progressive Field and people watching on television.
Melvin brought his lineup card to home plate before Thursday’s game, his first face-to-face meeting with Hernandez and his crew since the disputed ruling. Melvin was cordial and returned to the dugout after having joked earlier he hoped he wouldn’t get ejected.
“I don’t have much to say about it,” he said. “I’m not going to talk to them about it. If they want talk about it’s one thing, but I’m just going to take the lineup card out.”
Melvin was in contact with MLB officials after Wednesday’s game.
“I’ve heard from MLB and I’m not going to say what they said,” Melvin said before the A’s and Indians wrapped up a four-game series. “It’s probably what the majority saw, but what they’re going to do from here I haven’t had any discussions about that.”
Helped by the call, the Indians held on and won as closer Chris Perez escaped a bases-loaded jam.
Randy Marsh, MLB’s director of umpires, attended Thursday’s game. Marsh did not comment specifically on the disputed play, but said he was sent to Cleveland to speak with the umpires and check the replay equipment.
Melvin, who had requested that the umpires review Rosales’ hit, was automatically ejected by Hernandez for charging onto the field and arguing following the video review. MLB rules state that once the review is made, the call stands.
Hernandez, who asked a pool reporter not to record his interview following the game, said there was not enough clear proof to overturn the original call.
“It wasn’t evident on the TV we had it was a home run,” Hernandez said. “I don’t know what kind of replay you had, but you can’t reverse a call unless there is 100 percent evidence, and there wasn’t 100 percent evidence.”
Melvin wasn’t entirely familiar with the review procedure, which in the Indians’ home ballpark takes place just behind home plate. But he was confident the three umpires who left the field would see the same replays that were available to anyone watching the TV broadcasts.
Melvin said he became concerned the double would not be ruled a homer when the umpires took extra time to review the play.
“It actually worried me when it took so long, because I knew all it took was one replay to see,” he said. “Even the group in the suite next to us, you could see them look at the replay one time and they all turned away and said it was a home run. When I went and looked at it in the video room, their TV announcers were saying, `This is a home run, let’s go.”’
Umpires are to get several camera angles when reviewing a contested homer.
“They get all the feeds from both outlets and maybe even another one, I don’t know,” he said. “But I don’t think that MLB withholds feeds from them. Now what they’re watching it on, I don’t know. I’m not in there. It came down to somebody’s decision and that was probably against the grain from what the majority thought.”