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Thursday, October 8, 2009
Leyland blames umpire Marsh

From some AP notes today: I don't know how or why Marsh wouldn't have seen the replay, and I don't know what, exactly, gives Mike Port cause to stand by Randy Marsh. Is he standing by Marsh's inability or unwillingness to watch a two-second video clip that's been shown dozens of times on every reputable (or not) sports channel? Is he standing by Marsh's right to blow a terribly critical call?

Having said that, it's hard to have a great deal of sympathy for Leyland and his Tigers. 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.