Catcher Ramon Hernandez hit a sinking liner to center field that Grady Sizemore dived for and caught. Nick Markakis, the runner at third, tagged up and came home.
Miguel Tejada, the Orioles' runner at first, admittedly forgot how many outs there were and thought that the ball had dropped anyway, so he took off around second base. Sizemore threw to first base, where Ryan Garko stepped on the bag and the final out of the inning was recorded. Plate umpire Marvin also signaled that the run at home did not count, keeping the score at 2-1.
No big deal, right? Well, according to Rule 4.09, the run should count because it is not actually a force play at first. The runner touched home before the force, therefore the run counts. So the umpire made a bad call and life moves on. Well, that's not what happened. The umpries decided to make the correct call 3 and half innings later, adding the run retroactivetly. And I don't even need to interpret Rule 4.09 because the Official Comment deals with this exact situation:
Approved Ruling: One out, Jones on third, Smith on first, and Brown flies out to right field. Two outs. Jones tags up and scores after the catch. Smith attempted to return to first but the right fielder’s throw beat him to the base. three outs. But Jones scored before the throw to catch Smith reached first base, hence Jones’ run counts. It was not a force play.
Now, I like that the umps got the call right. But three innings later? Isn't there some sort of statute of limitation for getting the call right? Does that mean I can get Rich Garcia's refusal to call fan interference on Jeffrey Maier overruled? Well, actually, I can't, because Rule 9.05 imposes a 12 hour time limit for review. But that's for protests and such. What about actually changing a call in the game? I've never heard of that before, and I can't find a rule which specifically addresses it. Here's Rule 9.02:
(a) Any umpire’s decision which involves judgment, such as, but not limited to, whether a batted ball is fair or foul, whether a pitch is a strike or a ball, or whether a runner is safe or out, is final. No player, manager, coach or substitute shall object to any such judgment decisions.
(b) If there is reasonable doubt that any umpire’s decision may be in conflict with the rules, the manager may appeal the decision and ask that a correct ruling be made. Such appeal shall be made only to the umpire who made the protested decision.
Yet no time period is specified. But it is assumed in the rules that the appeal happens right away. That's how the appeal works. The plate umpire points to first to ask if the batter checked his swing. The manager asks the pitcher to throw the ball to second to appeal that the runner did not touch the base. Three innings later? It's not in the rules, but here is a guidleline in the general comments:
You no doubt are going to make mistakes, but never attempt to “even up” after having made one. Make all decisions as you see them and forget which is the home or visiting club.
I'm not complaing because the umpire made a call that eventually would benefit my beloved Orioles. They would win the game 7-4, so that one run didn't matter all that much. But in the interest of being fair, the call was wrong. The original failure to call Rule 4.09 was incorrect and then adding the run three innings later runs counter to the intent of Rule 9.02. Two wrongs don't make a right. The umpires screwed up, and if the Indians protest of this game should prevail. They got screwed.
Wow, a little bit of karma went the Orioles way. I don't know what to do about that. And I think there is a good reason why I should not be allowed to read the baseball rulebook. And its probably a good thing the NFL won't release theirs to the public.