Whether it's the strange infield fly call in the National League wild card play-in game, or maybe a deep fly ball that gets called foul when it could have easily been a home run, Girardi didn't have much to say as baseball fans griped about blown calls and the lack of instant replay throughout this year's playoffs.
Until Sunday, that is, when the Yankees lost another numbingly close playoff game.
Girardi was ejected for arguing a pivotal call late in Sunday's game and said afterward that he'd had enough with baseball not having a way to back up the umps.
"In this day and age when we have instant replay available to us, it's got to change," he said, according to the New York Daily News. "We play 235 days to get to this point, and two calls go against us."
New York was behind 1-0 in the eighth inning Sunday against Detroit when the Tigers' Austin Jackson drove a ball into right field. Nick Swisher fielded the ball and quickly threw it in, with Detroit's other baserunner, Omar Infante, having overrun second base as he advanced. Robinson Cano caught Swisher's throw and quickly applied the tag, but umpire Jeff Nelson called Infante safe, and the Tigers went on to score two more runs and beat the Yankees 3-0. (See the video here.)
Replays, however, showed that Cano tagged Infante out — and by quite a bit. Cano swept his arm well into Infante's chest, and even though Infante reached out with his right arm to grab at the bag, he was well behind the tag.
Nelson admitted the wrong call after the game, but the damage was done — and Girardi was calling for some changes.
"I am not saying we win the game if the call is right. And I am not saying we win the game if the call was right [Saturday] night, either," Girardi said, referring to a play where Cano appeared to beat a throw at first with the bases loaded but was called out. "But in this day and age, there is too much at stake, and technology is available."
The interesting thing to note is that, while technology is certainly available, it was also around last week, when a long fly by Baltimore's Nate McLouth against the Yankees was called a foul and not a home run. And it was also around in 2009, as the Yankees rampaged to a World Series title after getting past the Twins in the American League Division Series — with some help from a call that quite a few people thought was off.
In Game 2 against the Twins, a long drive by Joe Mauer in the 11th inning was ruled a foul ball despite the ball appearing to land in fair territory and even hitting outfielder Melky Cabrera's glove. The Yankees won the game in bottom of the 11th, 4-3, and Girardi cautioned against replay afterward, saying it could break up the rhythm of the game.
At that point, Girardi said instant replay should only be used for "important plays," such as home run calls. After Sunday, the question is: Would force plays at second fall into that category, or would they be part of what Girardi said wasn't worth stalling the game for, like ball and strike calls?
Girardi also argued this time around that the time it took him to come out and argue the call (and get tossed) was as much time as instant replay would take.
While the cries for instant replay haven't done much so far, more mishaps happening in big moments — and happening against the Yankees — could advance the cause.
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