Tuesday, February 16, 2010
Ump Marsh's apology closes book on playoff
As Tom Gage reports, Randy Marsh apologized to Jim Leyland for missing that big call last October:
Not that it does much good now, but they got it wrong - and they know it.
In a WFAN-New York interview on Friday before a charity roast for Don Zimmer in Connecticut, Jim Leyland said he got a call from umpire Randy Marsh "three weeks into the off season" to apologize for missing the one-out pitch with the bases loaded that hit Brandon Inge in the playoff game against Minnesota.
Had the umpires called it, the Tigers would have taken at least a one-run lead into the bottom of the 12th, the inning in which they lost the game to the Twins.
Oh well, too late now - and Marsh may not like it that Leyland has gone public about the apology - but at least the umpires acknowledged that they missed a huge call.
The apology is nice, but otherwise I don't see what's gained from the umpires acknowledging a call was missed. Calls are missed every single day during the season. Especially calls like that. Here's what I wrote when it happened:
If an umpire's going to blow a call, that's exactly the call you'd like him to blow. Why? Because while it's probably necessary to award first base to a player whose clothing has been grazed by a baseball, it's also regrettable. Inge was wearing a particularly loose jersey, and while the baseball certainly did touch the jersey, it might also have been two or three inches away from touching Inge's person. The spirit of the rule is intended to discourage pitchers from striking batters with baseballs; it's not to discourage pitchers from throwing within two or three inches.
Yes, yes, I know ... that's the rule. But that's not an easy thing for an umpire to see, and I'm actually surprised that they call it correctly as often as they do. Marsh just happened to miss this one, just as umpires missed calls all season long that cost the Tigers in some games, and helped them in others.
The Tigers were outscored this season. If they'd played better, one lousy call wouldn't have mattered.
My only problem with Randy Marsh was afterward he claimed he hadn't seen a replay. That just didn't seem credible to me. But he's seen it, and he's expressed his remorse for not doing his job perfectly. I never thought he deserved much blame for the Tigers not getting into the postseason, and now he doesn't deserve any blame for not admitting his error. Case closed.