Last night, the Yankees had Brett Gardner’s fly out changed to an RBI double; they had Ichiro Suzuki’s key late-inning steal changed to a rally-killing out; and they had an attempted double play result in no outs — and eventually a run — because Brian Roberts didn’t make a clean transfer at second base. It was a game that could have been a lot different a year ago.
“I’m glad to get out on top, but I’ve never seen more replays,” Mark Teixeira said. “I still don’t understand some of those calls today, but hey, we got the win. That’s all that matters. … The Gardner (play), I still think that should have been a home run because we’re told to play through. The release transfer play is a silly rule, if you ask me. We’ve been playing the game for 100 years. You’ve got to be quick at second base for a double play. That’s a weird play. Ichi’s call gets reversed. You have to get used to seeing those kind of calls in a game. It kind of disrupts the flow a little bit.”
It’s the brave new world of instant replay and adjusted rules interpretations.
The Gardner play was initially ruled an out after Wil Myers wound up with the deep fly ball in his glove. The Yankees finished off the play as if Myers had not made the catch, and because Myers never threw the ball in from the outfield, Gardner came around for what was — according to what actually transpired on the field — a two-run, inside-the-park home run. When replay showed the Myers had, in fact, simply caught the ball off the wall, the umpires decided to give Gardner a double because the play had been ruled dead when the umpires made their incorrect out call.
That’s one of the odd wrinkles still being worked out with instant replay. Does a play continue just in case a call is reversed, or should play stop as soon as any call is made, even though the call could be overturned? The Yankees were taught in spring training to play through, but it didn’t matter last night.
“You’re rewarding (Myers) for acting like he caught it when he knew he didn’t catch it,” Gardner said. “That’s what I was confused about. I don’t think that anything like this has happened before so they really couldn’t give me an answer. You’re taught to keep playing, and I don’t see where it’s any different than maybe a continuation play with a guy scoring from second to home where maybe the first baseman comes off the bag on a ground ball. You’re taught to keep running, and everybody in the dugout was telling me to keep running because it was obvious to them that he didn’t catch the ball.”
The other replay from last night was more cut-and-dry – Ichiro was called safe; he was really out – and the Yankees were instead left asking questions about a play that wasn’t reviewed at all. When Brian Roberts tried to turn two in the seventh inning, he gathered the throw to second base, then dropped the ball while trying to make the quick turn. In previous years, the runner at second would almost certainly have been called out because Roberts dropped the ball on the transfer, but the league is now saying that a second baseman or shortstop must control the ball all the way – catch, turn, and throw – in order to get even one out on a potential double play.
Ken Rosenthal wrote last week that such a strict interpretation of the transfer rule could change before the end of the season, but for last night, the Yankees knew they had no chance of getting the Roberts call overturned.
“You’ve got to make the transfer and he didn’t do it,” Joe Girardi said. “He didn’t have a grip on the ball, so that’s why I didn’t replay it.”
Associated Press photos