Friday, October 12, 2012

Umpires Uphold Foul Ball Call After Instant Replay Review

Does this ball hit the pole? You decide
When Orioles batter Nate McLouth's RF drive was ruled foul by umpire Fieldin Culbreth and upheld after instant replay review, the event marked the first usage of instant replay in postseason play since October 1, 2011, when a ball hit by the Yankees' Robinson Cano, initially ruled live, in play and a double, was upheld during that season's Tigers-Yanks ALDS, at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx.

When instant replay was implemented on August 28, 2008, MLB instructed its umpires to employ "clear and convincing evidence" as the standard in determining that a call was incorrect and should be reversed. A lack of evidence should result in the upholding of the call on the field.

Accordingly, after the BAL@NYY umpires invoked instant replay to rule on McLouth's drive off of Yankees pitcher CC Sabathia, the final determination to uphold Culbreth's call was made by crew chief and left field umpire Brian Gorman, based on his judgment that "clear and convincing" evidence did not exist to suggest Culbreth's call had been made erroneously.

The question remains: fair or foul? Consult the poll located on the right sidebar to cast your vote. One UEFL'er has already stated:
I think the one angle that makes it appear that it nicked the pole was an optical illusion. They have shown another angle where you can see daylight the whole way past the pole.
Fieldin Culbreth, meanwhile issued this statement: "I saw it go to the right of the pole," Culbreth said. "There is netting there and it didn't touch the netting. It did not change direction [indicating it grazed the pole]."

Instant replay has now been used five times in playoff baseball, resulting in two reversals (10/31/09, World Series, NYY@PHI, Alex Rodriguez hit reversed to a home run; 10/19/10, ALCS, TEX@NYY, Lance Berkman home run reversed to a foul ball) and three upheld calls (10/10/10, NLDS, PHI@CIN, Chasey Utley HR; 10/1/11, Cano; 10/12/12, McLouth).

Wrap: Baltimore Orioles at New York Yankees, American League Division Series (Game 5), 10/12/12
Video: McLouth's fly ball to deep right field and into the Stadium's second deck (live broadcast footage)
Video: Frame-by-frame replay of the angle referred to above (magnified)


Anonymous said...

are we sure that the ultimate decision is made by the CC instead of someone at the MLB office like in the NHL?

the video review apparatus has a phone next to it...don't see why someone from the MLB wouldn't have some input once they go to video.


Gil Imber said...

Yes, as mentioned on May 24, 2011 (Discussions: Video Interference), "the decision to use instant replay will be made by the umpire crew chief, who also will make the determination as to whether or not a call should be reversed."

Anonymous said...

Absolutely impossible to be 100% sure...either way. Stick with the call on the field. That's why they get paid the big bucks

Anonymous said...

Big Bucks........... is that a joke

Anonymous said...

If you had no idea of what the initial ruling was and all you had to go by was the replay, I think most people could see a deflection of the path of the ball and an increase in velocity as it grazed the pole.

ANON = LMS1953

Anonymous said...

Which is funny, physically speaking. If it contacted the pole, we would expect to see a DECREASE in absolute velocity rather than an increase as its kinetic energy would be temporarily arrested and angular acceleration would suffer a temporary decrease.

Instead, what we see here is typical of a falling projectile, angular velocity continuing along a course and absolute speed increasing during downward flight.

Anonymous said...

Actually the ball gets its "banana bend" trajectory due to the Magnus forces that cause a curveball to curve when it is spinning about its axis. So when the ball grazed the pole the tangential "kiss" changed the direction AND acted like a rotating wheel touching the ground which would increase the velocity. The same thing happens when a grounder picks up speed after the first bounce off an AstroTurf infield.. I think a Yankee usher-guy said it kissed off the pole - didn't Buck Showater make reference to that in his press conference?

ANON = LMS1953

Anonymous said...

I wish we had the blimp cam view as part of the above video to show once and for all the significant separation between the ball and the foul pole.

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