Friday, July 13, 2007

Friday, 7/13/07's main point: Makeup calls can be partisan

On BASEBALL

We know it when we see it. It's as obvious as a walrus in an ice cream parlor. The makeup call.

It's been perfected by officials in all professional sports. Well, "perfected" might be the wrong word, because if that was the case, maybe it wouldn't be so transparent to even the casual fan.

It made a grand appearance during Thursday night's Tigers-Mariners game. In the bottom of the fifth inning, Seattle's Adrian Beltre singled with the bases loaded, scoring two runs. As the ball sailed toward home plate in an ill-advised attempt to throw out the second run, Beltre alertly dashed for second base.

The only problem was Detroit catcher Mike Rabelo (who was filling in for the ejected Ivan Rodriguez) had cut off the throw and quickly fired the ball to Carlos Guillen. The shortstop appeared to tag Beltre at least once after Beltre continued toward third after somehow sliding under Guillen's initial tag. Beltre was ruled safe, however, by the second base umpire, allowing Richie Sexson to score what turned out to be the game-winning run.

A moment later — with Beltre standing on third base — the Tigers touched second base in an appeal, and the same umpire who had ruled Guillen didn't tag Beltre, called Beltre out (suggesting that the Seattle third baseman hadn't touched second base).

Replays showed, however, that Beltre had clearly touched the bag before continuing on his way. So, obviously, the out call was a makeup call.

In most cases a makeup call is as harmless as a pet rabbit. In this case, though, it cost the Tigers the game. If Beltre had been ruled out when Guillen initially tagged him, Sexson wouldn't have scored and the inning would have ended 2-2. Instead, Seattle led 3-2, which turned out to be the final score.

While Beltre had every right to be flabbergasted when the umpire said he didn't touch second base, he should be thankful that he wasn't called out when he actually was out.

I'm out.

1 comment:

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