BOSTON — And John Farrell didn’t even have to throw a red challenge flag.
Second base umpire Dana DeMuth made a terrible call in the first inning of Game 1 of the World Series on Wednesday. Fortunately for the Red Sox, the five other umpires joined DeMuth in reversing the call after Farrell came out to contest the initial ruling. It was a key moment in what was eventually an 8-1 win for the Red Sox.
“There’s been some conferences, and I can’t say it’s too often, particularly in this setting. I haven’t been in this setting before,” Farrell said when asked if he’s ever had an argument work to that degree. “But typically they’re probably going to stand pat with the decision that’s made in the moment. But like I said, they got the call right.”
The reversal did indeed correct a wrong. David Ortiz hit a ground ball to second base in the first inning that had the potential to be an inning-ending double play. Cardinals shortstop Pete Kozma failed to catch Matt Carpenter‘s flip to second base, though, and everyone advanced safely to load the bases for Mike Napoli.
The only problem was that DeMuth ruled that Kozma lost possession of the ball while transferring it to his throwing hand, and as a result, Dustin Pedroia was initially ruled out at second base. That’s when Farrell came out to contest the initial call, as it was obvious that Kozma never had possession of the baseball, and thus there shouldn’t have been any outs recorded on the play.
“Yeah, I thought from the dugout view it was pretty clear that that ball just tipped off the fingertips of his glove. I think we’re fully accepting of the neighborhood play, but my view is that it wasn’t even that,” Farrell said. “There was really no entry into the glove with the ball. And to their credit they did confer, and I think the one thing is we just strive to get the call correct. And I think based on their group conversation, surprisingly, to a certain extent, they overturned it and I think got the call right.”
Cardinals manager Mike Matheny then emerged from the St. Louis dugout to give his two cents. While the umpires ended up making the right call by reversing the ruling on the field, Matheny was frustrated, as it was a rare occurrence.
“Basically the explanation is that’s not a play I’ve ever seen before. And I’m pretty sure there were six umpires on the field that had never seen that play before either,” Matheny said. “It’s a pretty tough time to debut that overruled call in the World Series. Now, I get that trying to get the right call, I get that. Tough one to swallow.”
DeMuth, crew chief John Hirschback and MLB executive Joe Torre all offered up their explanations after the game, while Pedroia and Kozma also shared their view of the play.
“To start off with, it was my call. I stayed with the foot too long is how I ended up getting in trouble. When I was coming up, all I could see was a hand coming out and a ball on the ground.”
“I was focused on the bag and used my peripheral vision to see the ball go in the heel or hit the glove. When the ball hit the glove, then in my peripheral vision, I’m looking up and the ball was down.”
“I was saying that he was in the exchange and he was out right there. Then with our crew signals, I had crewmates that were giving me the signal that they were a hundred percent sure that I had the wrong [call], that they had it and I had the wrong call.”
“It’s an awful feeling, especially when I’m sure that I had the right call. But I’ve got to be a team here and get the right call. Definitely get the right call. When I see that, it’s an awful feeling”
“As a crew, we want to get everything right. We want to be perfect in our job. Whatever base we are on, wherever we’re working, sometimes that doesn’t happen, but the ultimate thing is we want to get the play right.”
“We got together and everybody said, we started with each guy, ‘What do you have? A hundred percent?’ Each guy said, ‘I’m a hundred percent.’ When they got to me, I said, ‘I’m a hundred percent, too.’”
“One thing for you to know, [DeMuth] didn’t miss a call all year. And he still hasn’t missed a call all year.”
“I just slid in there, and I thought it wasn’t on the transfer. I saw it. I saw what everyone else did. I’m glad they got together and got it right. I was just waiting. They have umpires, they’re everywhere. I was glad they all got together, and I’m sure someone had a better view. That’s why they made that decision.”
“I just missed it. Carpenter made a good feed, and I just didn’t get my glove in it. I had no idea what [the umpires] were thinking, but as soon as they called it, they overturned it. It didn’t go our way.”