Joe Torre, MLB's VP of baseball operations, admitted today that the umpires did make the wrong call last night after they called Billy Butler's fly ball a home-run in the Kansas City Royals' 5-4 victory over the New York Yankees.
According to the New York Daily News, Torre-- the Yankees former manager-- looked at the controversial fly ball ruling and backed the Yankees claim that the ball never cleared the foot-high chain-link partition on top of the padded wall. Torre said the hit should not have been called a home-run.
"It was a missed call, but there was also a misunderstanding on the rule," Torre explained. "He just missed it but his interpretation was that the the back fence was behind the wall and out of the ballpark. It certainly wasn't for a lack of doing his job, just a misunderstanding of the rule."
Let's get this straight. Aren't the umpires supposed to know the rules? It just seems logical that the men enforcing the rules-- including boundaries and what constitutes a home-run-- should be aware of each stadium's dimensions.
After second-base umpire Dana DeMuth ruled that the fly ball cleared the fence, and the umpire crew spent five minutes reviewing the initial call, they still upheld the home-run call.
It was pretty obvious the ball didn't clear the fence because the ball bounced back onto the field where Brett Gardner scooped it up and put it back in play.
An irate Mariano Rivera knew it wasn't a home-run. The KC broadcasters knew it. In the Royals dugout, even Billy Butler had the look of a five year-old with the stolen cookie while the umpire crew reviewed the call.
Yankees first-base coach Mick Kelleher said the umpires knew it. Before the game, Kelleher said the officiating crew explained that the ball had to clear the entire fence-- including the set back chain-link portion-- to be considered a home-run.
"It has to go over the padded bar," Kelleher was told. "If that wasn't the case, there would be a yellow line."
Torre said DeMuth "feels very badly."
"He was wrong," said Torre. "And there was a price to learn that lesson."
Torre stressed that the instant replay system didn't fail despite the muffed call.
"The game is over and that's what it is," Torre told the News. "It's unfortunate. Everyone had to cooperate to make it a one run game."
Girardi didn't file a protest after the ruling because he said he "believed the umpire" and figured "Dana knew the rules." Now, that boat has long sailed and any correction is out of the question.
It's too late for the Yankees to take any sort of action to correct the costly error. Girardi would have had to file a protest before the next pitch was thrown after the umpires made their final call last night to see any justice.
Yankees fans can blame the mistake on DeMuth's interpretation of the rules at Kauffman Stadium-- which had gone renovations in 2009-- but they should remember the image of Jorge Posada staring at a strike three with the bases loaded for the game's final out.