When Andy Dirks doubled along the left-field line this afternoon, third-base umpire Tim Welke initially called the ball foul. He admitted as much to Yankees manager Joe Girardi. Replays showed that the ball was clearly fair — chalk flew into the air when the ball landed — and the argument that followed was more about the impact of Welke’s premature call rather than the accuracy of it.
Girardi argued that Welke’s premature call led Raul Ibanez to slow down, which caused him to misplay the ball. Girardi wanted the play ruled a ground-rule double, meaning the go-ahead run would return to third base. Welke argued that his initial call had no impact on the play whatsoever, and the run should count. When the umpires met to discuss, their discussion was about whether Girardi should be allowed to play the game under protest, something he can’t do on a judgment call.
The umpires decided Girardi was not allowed to play this game under protest.
“My contention is my outfielder pulled up a little bit. It only takes a split second for the ball to get by you. And he probably doesn’t score and we’re in a 2-2 game. Now I can’t tell you how the game’s going to end up, but at the time, with rain coming, that’s a huge play. … I still believe they’re wrong. That’s the bottom line. And I’m not going to give up the argument. Just because I get tossed doesn’t mean I can’t argue.”
“I started to put my hands up in the air — I was a little quick — then I saw the ball hit the chalk line, and I pointed fair about three times. … I don’t think it had any impact. I’ve watched the replay, and I don’t think there was any impact on the outfielder. I don’t think Ibanez ever even saw me. We got the call right. … Joe thought it was a protestable situation, but it was a judgment call. He wanted to play the game under protest, and that was most of the discussion.”
“I thought it was going to be foul. When the ball kicked off and I heard the crowd, everyone made a sound like it was a foul ball. Then I heard them all start screaming again and I was surprised that he called it fair. I thought that it was called foul. That being said, I probably should have stayed behind it a little but more. The ball kicked off to my right, sharper than what I anticipated. I probably should have given myself a little more room.”
“Joe can lose it with the best of them. He doesn’t do it very often. But when he does he gets his money’s worth. … I wish I was playing third today so I could have gotten a little bit more of the audio.”
“I wanted to say something, but I think Joe said everything I wanted to say.”
Associated Press photo