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A Shocking Turn of Events at the World Series

Two things are certain in baseball post season every year: cold weather and blown calls.

For decades there wasn’t much you could do about either.

Then someone got the bright idea to play baseball indoors, but it took until 1987 before a World Series game was played in climate controlled conditions.

But with temps in the mid-40’s in Boston for Game 1 of the 2013 World Series Wednesday night, there’s obviously still a lot of work to be done when it comes to the weather.

As for bad umpiring, baseball has had the technology in place for years to rectify that black eye on the sport, but has moved at a snail’s pace to do anything about it.

So it came as no surprise to baseball fans Wednesday when it took less than an inning for the ‘men in blue’ to be in the middle of a controversy.

It all started on what appeared to be a routine double play ball off the bat of Red Sox designated hitter David Ortiz.  It was fielded by Cardinal second baseman Matt Carpenter, who tossed to shortstop Pete Kozma for the start of what should have been a 4-6-3, inning ending double play.

But the ball clearly glanced off Kozma’s glove before he could catch it – clearly that is to almost everyone at Fenway Park and watching on TV, except second base umpire Dana DeMuth.  He ruled the runner, Dustin Pedroia, out, saying that Kozma had lost the ball transferring it from glove to hand to make the throw to first.

That set off a more than four-minute sequence of events (see the photo gallery above) that included on -field appearances from Boston Manager John Farrell (to argue the call), a conclave of all six (yes, six – it’s the post season) umpires (to overturn the call), and St. Louis Manager Mike Matheny (to argue said reversed call).

After the game DeMuth told a pool reporter:

I stayed with the foot too long. That’s how I ended up getting in trouble.

My vision was on the foot.

And when I was coming up, all I could see was a hand coming out and the ball on the ground.

All right? So I was assuming…

When it was all said and done, the right call stood.  That’s the most important thing.

Such an obvious call being missed is laughable.  There was no possibility of it being a ‘transfer’ issue, because Kozma’s right hand never came close to the ball or the glove.

But the real stunner for me? The umpires, without the benefit of instant replay, put their heads together and actually overruled one of their own.  Remember, these crews are hand-picked by Major League Baseball, the best of the best, no rookies or slouches here.  There are ‘unwritten rules’ in baseball when it comes to the players showing up umpires, but there’s also a long held understanding that umpires don’t show up other umps by overturning their calls, no matter how bad they are.

Expanded instant replay arrives next season, and it’s obviously long overdue.  But if all of baseball’s umpires had shown the kind of courage that crew in Boston showed Wednesday night, the need for replay wouldn’t have been as pressing.

It was nice to see getting a call right was more important than an umpire’s ego.

Now, back to work on that weather machine…

Red Sox Win Game One

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