Thursday, October 7, 2010
Joe Girardi in favor of instant replay
By Wallace Matthews
MINNEAPOLIS -- Add Joe Girardi's name to the growing list of baseball people in favor of adding instant replay to help umpires make tough calls -- just like the one they blew in the ninth inning of Wednesday's ALDS opener between the New York Yankees and Minnesota Twins.
But get this: Only, Girardi says, if it doesn't make the games longer than they already are, a curious statement coming from a manager whose teams play the longest games in Major League Baseball, with his approval and encouragement.
"As long as it doesn't slow the games down," Girardi said in the visiting manager's office before Thursday night's Game 2.
The subject came up after the umps ruled Yankees right fielder Greg Golson trapped a sinking liner hit by Delmon Young with two outs in the ninth inning of Wednesday's 6-4 Yankees victory.
It was clear to the naked eye that Golson had picked the liner, and even clearer to the eye in the sky of the television cameras. But right-field ump Chris Guccione ruled the ball had hit the ground, and after a short meeting with his colleagues, the ruling stood, bringing Twins slugger Jim Thome to the plate as the potential tying run.
"I couldn't really see it but I go by the reaction of the players and they usually tell you a lot," Girardi said. "[Golson] said he caught it, so I asked the umpires to convene. After they come back with that decision there's really not much I can do, but I appreciate them getting together because it might be a call that's overturned."
Thome did both the Yankees and the league a favor by hacking at the first pitch he saw from Mariano Rivera and popping out softly to Alex Rodriguez to end the game.
"If Thome hits a home run there and the Twins go on to win, it could change the complexion of the series," Girardi said.
Girardi and the Yankees, of course, were on the opposite side of a blown call in the 2009 ALDS at Yankee Stadium when left-field ump Phil Cuzzi ruled Joe Mauer's Game 2 liner in the 11th inning of a tie game a foul ball, despite replays showing the ball was at least six inches fair.
Although Mauer got a hit, the Twins failed to score and lost the game in the bottom of the inning on Mark Teixeira's walk-off home run.
In the final analysis, Guccione's blown call had no effect on the outcome of the game other than to revive the replay debate once again.
"Could they have reviewed that play as quick as they talked about it? Probably," Girardi said. "It takes the same amount of time. To me, that's the great thing about technology. They can slow everything down. And there's different things you can do. You could have an umpire right in front of a TV. They could do that. So it could actually speed up the game."
Said Girardi's Twins counterpart, Ron Gardenhire: "Well, I was really happy with the call last night. I like the game just as it is."
Wallace Matthews covers the Yankees for ESPNNewYork.com.
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