"A New York Treasure" --Village Voice

Finally Got A Piece Of The Pie

Mark Teixeira celebrates his game-winning home run as he rounds first (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)I don’t even know where to start. The Yankees beat the Twins 4-3 in 11 innings in Game Two of the ALDS on Friday night in the Bronx in what might have been the most exciting Yankee postseason win since the Aaron Boone game in 2003.

Starting pitchers A.J. Burnett and Nick Blackburn matched zeros for five innings. Blackburn allowed only a walk to Hideki Matsui before Robinson Cano, who along with Mark Teixeira was one of just two Yankee starters who went hitless in Game One, singled with two outs in the fifth. Burnett put runners on in every inning, but stranded them in the first five.

The first big play of the game came in the top of the fourth. After getting two quick outs, Burnett hit Delmon Young in the back and Carlos Gomez in the hand to put runners on first and second. Matt Tolbert then lined a clean single to shallow right center for what looked like the first RBI hit of the game, but Gomez took a wide turn around second then slipped. With Derek Jeter standing on second screaming for the ball, Nick Swisher fired to second to catch Gomez off the bag just moments before Young was able to cross home, ending the inning without a run scoring.

The Twins finally broke the scoreless tie in the top of the sixth after Young drew a one-out walk and stole second as Gomez struck out. Tolbert was due up, but had come down with a strained oblique, forcing Twins manager Ron Gardenhire to pinch-hit with Brendan Harris. Harris, who hit .238/.289/.340 against right-handers on the season, took to 3-1, then launched a bomb to the left-field gap. Johnny Damon did his jump-and-fall-down routine in a hopeless attempt to catch the ball, and the ball ricocheted off the wall and got past Melky Cabrera giving Harris an RBI triple. Burnett stranded Harris by getting Nick Punto to ground out on what proved to be his last pitch of the night. Then the Yankees answered back.

With Burnett out of the game, Joe Girardi sent Jorge Posada up to hit for Jose Molina. Posada flew out, but Derek Jeter crushed a ground-rule double to right center, and two batters later the new Alex Rodriguez delivered yet another two-out RBI single to tie the game.

Joba Chamberlain and Phil Coke split a scoreless seventh. John Rauch answered with a 1-2-3 inning of his own. That passed the ball to Phil Hughes in the eighth. Taking his cue from Burnett, Hughes got two quick outs and had the crowd roaring “Huuuughes” with the count 1-2 on Gomez, but then issued three straight balls to put Gomez on base. That man Harris followed with a single that sent Gomez to third (and nearly to home). That brought up Nick Punto, the Twins gritty, gutty, scrappy, crappy ninth hitter. Punto took to 2-2, fouled off a pitch, then singled through the middle scoring Gomez with the go-ahead run.


Joe Girardi then brought in Mariano Rivera who, as the TBS announcers reported, had allowed just 3 hits in 50 at-bats with men in scoring position in his postseason career. That became 4-for-51 as Denard Span singled Harris home to give the Twinks a 3-1 lead. Watching Rivera give up an insurance run, the Yankee Stadium crowd fell dead silent.

Twins set-up ace Matt Guerrier and Rivera exchanged scoreless innings, handing that 3-1 lead to Joe Nathan in the ninth. The first time these two teams met this season, the Yankees opened the series with a trio of walk-off wins at Yankee Stadium. In the first of those, Joe Nathan was handed a two-run lead in the ninth only to cough up both the lead and the game, one of just two losses Nathan suffered on the season.

Perhaps I had that game in the back of my mind, because looking at the Yankee batters due up–Mark Teixeira, Alex Rodriguez, and Hideki Matsui–I was convinced the Yankees would get a bloop from Teixeira and a blast from Rodriguez to tie the game.

Guess what?

Teixeira hit a 1-1 rope into right field for a lead-off single, and Alex Rodriguez, after taking to 3-1, crushed a fastball to the back wall of the Yankee bullpen in right for a game-tying home run.

Alex ties it up (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)Alex Rodriguez’s first postseason series as a Yankee was the 2004 ALDS against the Twins. With the Yankees trailing 6-5 in the 12th inning of Game Two of that series, Rodriguez hit a game-tying ground-rule double off Nathan as the Yankees rallied for the win. In Game Four, with the Yankees leading 2-1 in the series and the game tied 5-5 in the 11th, Rodriguez doubled, stole third, and scored what proved to be the series winning run on a wild pitch from Kyle Lohse to Gary Sheffield. Rodriguez hit .421/.476/.737 in that series and went 6-for-14 with two home runs and a pair of doubles in the first three games against the Red Sox in the subsequent ALCS.

From Game Four of the 2004 ALCS through the Yankees next two postseason series, ALDS losses to the Angels and Tigers, however, Rodriguez hit a dismal .109/.310/.196 in 58 plate appearances. He picked things up a bit against the Indians in 2007, hitting .267/.353/.467, but his only RBI came on a solo homer in the final game. Now, after two games in this postseason, Rodriguez is 4-for-8 with five RBIs, three of which came with two outs and the other two of which came on a game-tying home run off one of the game’s best closers in the bottom of the ninth. Throw in his work with the Mariners, and Alex Rodriguez is a career .290/.376/.503 hitter in the postseason. With that game-tying shot, Rodriguez officially laid to rest the “Alex can’t hit in October” fallacy. Good riddance.

Rodriguez’s homer sent the game into extra innings. Following the form, Alfredo Aceves got two quick outs in the tenth, then put runners on the corners before getting Orlando Cabrera to fly out. With Nathan still on in the tenth, Posada delivered a one-out single, setting up a typically thrilling pinch-running appearance by Brett Gardner.

Gardner stole second on the 2-0 pitch to Derek Jeter. Then, with the count 3-1, Nathan and Cabrera attempted to pick Gardner off on a timing play and had him beat to the bag, but Nathan’s throw looked more like a field goal attempt, splitting Cabrera on the bag and Punto playing his position and sailing into shallow center. Gardner dove back to the base, colliding with Cabrera’s knee, then stumbled after popping up to take third, but still beat Gomez’s throw.

With Gardner on third and one out, Gardenhire had Nathan issue an intentional ball four to Jeter and brought in rookie lefty Jose Mijares to go after Johnny Damon. Mijares’s first three pitches were out of the zone. He then poured in a gimme strike and got the count full when Damon fouled off the next pitch. Damon put good wood on the 3-2 pitch, but his sinking liner toward shortstop was caught by Cabrera, who was playing in to cut off the run. Gardner, thinking the ball would hit the grass, broke with contact rather than waiting for the ball to hit the ground and was easily doubled off to end the inning.

Gardner told Chad Jennings after the game, “It‘s a tough read. There’s not much time to make a decision and I thought it was going to short-hop him. When I saw that he caught it, I was committed to going home. Obviously I’m a little frustrated at myself for making a bad decision.”

Joe Girardi turned to Damaso Marte to start the 11th against Joe Mauer and Jason Kubel, but both singled, forcing Girardi to turn to the penultimate man in his pen, rookie David Robertson.

I should note that Mauer actually did more than single; he hit a ground-rule double down the left-field line, but left-field umpire Phil Cuzzi called the clearly fair ball foul, blowing his only responsibility in the game. The tone of this recap might have been very different had Cuzzi gotten the call right. Nonetheless, the soon-to-be MVP regrouped to single to center.

Robertson began his postseason career by giving up a single to Michael Cuddyer, but Mauer had to hold at third on the hit, putting Robertson in a bases-loaded no-outs jam with only Chad Gaudin, being held in reserve for extended work, available to relieve him. Robertson threw a curve to Delmon Young that Young lit into, but hit directly at the drawn-in Mark Teixeira (the Twins runners all stayed on their bases). Carlos Gomez then also swung at the first pitch, hitting a slow chopper to Teixeira, who threw home to force Mauer for the second out. With the bases still loaded, that man Brendan Harris came up, but flew out to Gardner on a 1-1 pitch, stranding all three runners, putting the Twins total for the game at 17 men left on base.

Mijares stayed on to face Teixeira batting righty in the bottom of the 11th. Teixeira took ball one. Missed strike one. Took ball two, then yanked the 2-1 pitch off the top of the left field wall, just above the 318-foot sign for a game-winning home run.

tastes like victory (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)There was a brief pause before everyone realized the ball had indeed skipped into the stands for a home run, then the place went nuts. Teixeira looked like he was skipping around the bases. As he rounded third, he launched his helmet into the air then ran deep into his swarming teammates, who began jumping up and down in unison.

The Yankees had 15 previous walk-off wins this season, each celebrated with a pie in the face from A.J. Burnett. The only Yankee regulars who didn’t deliver walk-off hits during the regular season were Jeter and Teixeira. Friday night, Burnett got to end the night of his first post-season start by slathering Teixeira with one of his custom walk-off pies.

Yanks lead 2-0 and look to end the series and the Metrodome against Carl Pavano on Sunday. Suddenly, that feels just right.

Categories:  Cliff Corcoran  Game Recap

Tags:  2009 Playoffs  ALDS

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1 tommyl   ~  Oct 10, 2009 1:09 am

And the Twins entire season once again falls on the shoulders of....Carl Pavano. I can't make this stuff up. Classic.

2 Cliff Corcoran   ~  Oct 10, 2009 1:11 am

I can't figure out why they're not going with Baker on regular rest on Sunday. Still, I tabbed Pavano as the key Twin a month ago on SI.com

3 tommyl   ~  Oct 10, 2009 1:12 am

[2] Neither can I actually. Maybe there's something about Baker we don't know? It makes little sense.

4 Alex Belth   ~  Oct 10, 2009 1:14 am

Nobody at any of the other papers or blogs will have a better headline than that Cliff.


What an amazing victory.

5 tommyl   ~  Oct 10, 2009 1:15 am

[0] BTW Cliff, great write up (and the preview too). Ok, I need to eat some dinner, still coming down from that game.

6 Cliff Corcoran   ~  Oct 10, 2009 1:15 am

Sweeny Murti on twitter: "Carl Pavano might finally pitch a playoff clincher for the Yanks. The fact that he's in a Twins uniform is a mere technicality."

7 Cliff Corcoran   ~  Oct 10, 2009 1:22 am

[4] When it looked like they were going to lose on hits by Harris and Punto, my headline was going to be "Scrubbed Out."

8 Alex Belth   ~  Oct 10, 2009 1:36 am

Nick FUGGIN PUNTO! That was driving me MAD.

Man, that's just such an exciting win. I'm still charged up. One of those days were I love the idea of waking up and buying all the papers and reading about it again and again, filling a tension-free Saturday with fantasies of a Pavano Goolash for supper on Sunday night.

9 tommyl   ~  Oct 10, 2009 1:37 am

[8] I kept rewinding my DVR and watching it again, and again. I've seen the highlight about 20 times already and I can't see it enough.

10 Eddie Lee Whitson KO   ~  Oct 10, 2009 2:06 am

Kate Hudson for the Nobel Peace Prize.

This team.....can ya feel it??

11 Cliff Corcoran   ~  Oct 10, 2009 2:10 am

LoHud tweet: "Interesting tidbit on SportsCenter: Teixeira's home run took 2.88 seconds to leave the field. It is the fastest home run this season."

12 thelarmis   ~  Oct 10, 2009 3:04 am


as i was getting ready to close shop and head to my gig, i saw the Mauer hit. oh man, did we ever get lucky on that call! at first, i thought it was totally foul, then the replay clearly showed the ump fouled up. i saw the hit up the middle and said to myself, 'better he's on first than second' and brought my bass drum out to the car.

looking up at the heavens, i knew it was gonna pour, so i came back upstairs to close my windows. of course, i had to turn on the game and take a peak, even though i was running late to work. i think i left at the 3-1 count, or something.

amazingly, i couldn't get the game on the damn radio. fuck. so i called my mom, who thankfully was at home, and she gave me play by play for robertson getting out of the inning. i couldn't believe it. i double parked my car, brought in my bass drum and saw everyone on the field celebrating!

i got enough looks just bringing in my gear, then the whole place turned at me when i erupted in cheer. it RULED!!! i wished i had taped the ending, but i got to see a ton of highlights and then watch the Shit Sox lose, whenever i peered up at the screen.

wow. i can't wait to read Cliff's write-up and the comments i missed on the game thread.

[6] that's fuckin' hilarious!


13 thelarmis   ~  Oct 10, 2009 3:15 am

terrific write-up, Cliff...per usual.

this is sooo awesome. i LOVE this team!!! : )

14 Boatzilla   ~  Oct 10, 2009 5:00 am

Perhaps one of the most exciting games I've ever watched. Talk about drama. And most of it was on video tape. My 7-year-old daughter had her first elementary school field athletics day (a big deal in Japan) today, staring at 90 minutes after game time (out here). So I watched about 5 innings, set the VCR, and headed out. Filmed my baby. Helped our team win the PTA tug-o-war and rushed back to watch a few innings during the lunch break. But afterwards I returned home for the drama and beer and A-Rod and Tex and Wow. Wow. Wow. Just Wow. This is the year.

15 nemecizer   ~  Oct 10, 2009 6:08 am

Watch an amazing game last night, go to bed happy. Wake up and check the score, and see the Red Sox lost.

Somehow everything is right with the world today.

16 OldYanksFan   ~  Oct 10, 2009 8:30 am

Great Game! Great Win!

It is just WRONG to let umpires decide the fate of a game.
Think what Minny has been through, with game 163 and all.
Even with a Mauer double, they might not have won, but the bottom line is this is WRONG... wrong that MLB just sits on it's ass and doesn't fix this.

Maybe in parallel universe 2,948H-3/2 the call is made correct, and the Twins go on to win the series. An entire year, and possible PS success, can can down the drain with just one bad call. These guys work so hard and have so much invested in the game.

With Wall Street and all the other problems plaguing this country, can't baseball get it right? The fix is do damn easy. Sure, an Ump can make a mistake, but we got technology. The guys in the booth, and the entire viewing audience knew the situation before Mauer eventually got the single.

Somehow, between the flip (Giambi was safe) and the Jeter/Maier HR, so far PS blown calls have gone our way. RCNB. But still......

It ain't right.
It's time for MLB to step up and fix this.
It's time for video replay to take it's rightful place in the game, helping to make the game as fair and correct as possible.

It's time for umpire assistance from video replay!

17 OldYanksFan   ~  Oct 10, 2009 8:36 am

The Sox have so far chalked up 0 runs on 4 hits and 1 run on 4 hits. I guess without PedManny and PedPapi, there ain't much offense to be had. Winters here suck for me, but a Yankee WS and an early exit for the Sox will make it a lot more tolerable.

18 RIYank   ~  Oct 10, 2009 8:37 am

[12] Moms rule!

19 ms october   ~  Oct 10, 2009 8:57 am

[0] great write-up cliff - i am still zooming

[15] co-sign that - but now i want the sox to take at least one to make the angels work

[16] i agree with your overall theme.
but i can assure you that the yankees have been on the wrong end of some egregious calls throughout the years too. hell, last night the home plate douchelord was far worse for the yanks than the twins.
nevertheless officiating is pretty bad in all sports. i watch a lot of the nba and it is really disgustingly bad. the pace of baseball would allow it to be fixed by technology most easily (you aren't going to stop every play in the nba to look for traveling). the strike zone and all fair/foul calls could be pretty easily remedied.

20 The Mick536   ~  Oct 10, 2009 9:05 am

[0] Terrific recap.

I liked the Chris Chambliss game better for two reasons: First, I didn't go because I had to work and saw it on television at some cop shop where I was doing an interview-very excitin; Second, because, like Bobby Thompson's, it meant something more than just a win. But that doesn't mean this wasn't a good game. Almost died when Gardner doubled up.

Thought that the swing and miss by Tex intimidated the pitcher. He swung so hard at that ball, I felt the wind in VT. The homer swing duplicated it. Phewwwwy. One of the fastest homer hit I have seen.

21 Horace Clarke Era   ~  Oct 10, 2009 9:11 am

OYF (here I am, you know me and game threads!). The whole technology and officiating thing is a messy one, because the game delays in football and hockey are such a pain. On the other hand I think they are worth it on balance, if some way of limiting WHAT can be challenged kicks in. It would kill this sport if every bang-bang at first base, or stolen base call where the ball wins but the tag's missed had to be reviewed.

Baseball started down the road with the homer or double, fair or foul thing. What you are basically saying is that they should expand ... how far? It isn't a slam dunk, though this morning if I was a Twin fan I'd think it was.

I admit that exultant as I am, happy as the two results last night make me feel (Figgy lurks, though!) the missed call does take some lustre off. Doesn't even help to note how bad Merriwether was, because he was wretched for both teams. That call (I assume Melky's leg or body blocked Cuzzi's view) was a season killer, in potential. Of course we'll never know if Twins would have hit (twice) with Mauer on second, but that changes nothing, really.

Still, saying 'go to replays!' just invites 'for which calls?'.

22 Horace Clarke Era   ~  Oct 10, 2009 9:26 am

Just read this from Jeff Passan, could be a partial answer to my 'which calls?' question:

Take the cue from football. Use a red replay flag. Each team gets two per game. If the manager throws them too early, or misuses them, and can’t overturn a poor call later, it’s his mess. MLB likes to render decisions on home-run calls now in two or three minutes. One game’s replays, if all played, would consume 10 to 12 minutes – and might save time, too, presuming umpire-manager confrontations over blown calls would dip dramatically.

Basically, copy football. It does NOT solve it all ... if Gardy throws them early, he has none for the Cuzzi Miss. The game STILL turns (the season) on that miss. But it might take us some distance, I guess. It becomes a very tough Mgr play (you protest a 3rd inning bang-bang with two outs and your #8 hitter up?) but that's why they get the big bucks...

23 RIYank   ~  Oct 10, 2009 9:31 am

I just love the post-game interview with Robertson. He's almost giggling, he's so relieved. "I still can't believe I got outa that one."

24 Raf   ~  Oct 10, 2009 9:32 am

The last time the Twins asked Pavano to save their seson he responded with 5.2IP - 8H - 4R - 1BB - 7K against the Royals.

25 ms october   ~  Oct 10, 2009 9:37 am

[22] hoss as horribly egregious as that call was, i think it is an exaggeration to say :the game STILL turns ... on that miss." The Twins had runners, sometimes multiple runners on base every inning against burnett and ended up with 1 run. i don't want to downplay the horribleness of the call, but it shouldn't necessarily be thought that if only they had gotten that call they would have won, and that call in and of itself cost them the game. (and i would like to think i would feel the same way if the tables were turned, jut with more anger)

26 vockins   ~  Oct 10, 2009 9:40 am

That blown Mauer call was awful. I fail to understand how any ambulatory human could blow that call.

27 OldYanksFan   ~  Oct 10, 2009 9:42 am

[19] [21] Well... first off, just to say....
The way MLB does HR reviews is TERRIBLE. It causes delays, and millions of fans in front of their TVs already know what really happened long before the Umps review. There needs to be a central reviewing room (VU - Virtual Umps) with 3 Umps. All games are monitored. As soon as there is a questionable play, within the bounds of reviewable calls, the techies in the VU show all camera angles to the 3 umps, and a 2 of 3 Vote decides. This could usually be done while the manager is still arguing.

There is NO reason to pull Umps off the field and make them review calls, like is done now. Takes far to much time and interrupts the game. The VU will have the answer as fast, if not faster, then the TV viewers have it. It would be seemless. If a field Umps wants the call reviewed, they just buzz the VU (the HP Ump would have a buzzer/results device in his pocket... smaller than an IPhone, and/or an earpiece). The VU will have the answer waiting 99% of the time. No delay. No interruption. Simple a play called via VUO (Virtual Umps Override).

Balls and Strikes are NOT part of this. However, it would be easy to have the inside/outside part of Balls and Strikes called by an electronic Home Plate. Up/Down could still be called by the Ump. This would make the Umps job easier, still have him on the field making the vocal call, but at least 1/2 the bad calls would be eradicated.

Plays at the bases are NOT part of this. However, each manager should get 1 or 2 challanges which does includes plays at any base. Obviously, a manager would save his challenge(s) for crucial plays only. By limiting challenges, the 'Human Element' would be maintained, but game deciding bad calls, like last night, would almost always get overruled, and ruled correctly.

Using a VU could/would be totally transparent. Hell, if MLB wanted, they could have the Umps 'huddle up' as they do now, on questional calls, buzz the VU, get the decision, and then do their thing, just like is done now when the Umps get together to talk over a call.

All games are already recorded on video. Every camera from every angle for every game. For the price of 4 or 5 techs, and 3 Umps who are off that day, this could be done almost overnight.

A VU done like this would be TOTALLY unobtrusive, could actually speed up games as managerial arguing would greatly dimish, and most importantly, fair calls would be made, and umps never have to be embarassed with bad calls.

MLB is now a multi-billion dollar enterprise. It's time to be professional and GET IT RIGHT.

28 Mr. OK Jazz TOKYO   ~  Oct 10, 2009 9:43 am

Had to head out on a short assignment this afternoon AFTER 4 1/2 hours of the game..was impossible to focus. Thankfully, a Sri Lankan feast + Guinness this evening was a good celebration.

Facing Carl Pavano..speechless..

[0] And Jefferson's reference makes me happy! :)

29 seamus   ~  Oct 10, 2009 9:43 am

[23] where did you watch it?

30 ms october   ~  Oct 10, 2009 9:44 am

[26] i'm not sure if it makes it worse or not, but he was standing *right there* - last night i assumed he didn't get down the line fast enough, but the numerous replays show he was right in front of the play. and it doesn't seem as if melky blocked his view either. i'm with you, how do you blow that call?

31 Just Fair   ~  Oct 10, 2009 9:44 am

[0] Awesome reliving that one again. I was out to dinner with my wife, parents, and sister who is in town. The food would have been great but goddamn Punto is Choading us to death. Blech. But I knew the big bats were coming in against Nathan. Teixeiria rip. Excitement rising. 3-0 to Alex. Greenlight I said to my dad. Nope. 3-1. No doubter as soon as it hit the bat. The bar went bananas. I think I may have been the loudest. : ) Family left. Watched the awfull double play. Raced home hearing Marte shit the bed through the voice of Sterling. Had a minor heart attack watching Here's to You Mr. Robertson (official Yankee). Then went nuts after Teix's rope. I too saw that quickest homer stat. Crazy. What a game. I love me some baseball. : D

32 RIYank   ~  Oct 10, 2009 9:55 am

[29] I didn't, I just listened. Some commenter at River Ave made a little compilation and put it on the web, here.

33 seamus   ~  Oct 10, 2009 9:56 am

[32] thanks. checking it out...

34 RIYank   ~  Oct 10, 2009 9:56 am

[31] Raced home hearing Marte shit the bed through the voice of Sterling.

Not a pleasant experience.

35 seamus   ~  Oct 10, 2009 10:00 am

Gardner and Gomez trading running mistakes almost seems appropriate. Just random thinking...

36 mehmattski   ~  Oct 10, 2009 10:26 am

Re: Instant Replay

The sport that gets it right is tennis, which has sophisticated cameras watching all the lines, and the players get a set number of challenges per match. The player calls a challenge, and the replay is played on the video board, and everyone can see immediately whether the ball is in or out, based on an objective computer analysis. I can't imagine why this couldn't be applied to fair-foul calls in baseball, where there's only two lines to watch. There would be basically no time lost on these calls.

I must say that it feels a little like the Yankees stole the game. No, I don't fall in to the fallacy of the predetermined outcome (aka Kay Syndrome) but a runner on second with no outs is better than a runner on third with no outs. They did still get their chances in that inning though, and could have done better than two weak infield hits and a strikeout. Do we finally believe that David Robertson is a good pitcher?

37 mehmattski   ~  Oct 10, 2009 10:27 am

[36] Ugh... runner on second with no outs is better than a runner on first with no outs.

38 Dimelo   ~  Oct 10, 2009 10:34 am

Holy crap, I still can't believe my eyes. That A-Rod homerun just caused an explosion all around me. Nuts, just nuts.

For as good as I felt about the A-Rod homerun, then I felt the exact opposite feeling when seeing Marte pitching. I just felt like I was having flashbacks and I was seeing Felix Heredia.

39 Pete   ~  Oct 10, 2009 10:47 am

I vote 2009 as the Year of Exorcising Demons.

CC and AJ and Alex all man up in the playoffs, Sunday we spank Pavano to forever get the bad taste out of our mouths, and then we beat the Angels in 5 in the ALCS.

To top it off, we take on Torre in the new Stadium and Jeter eats pie in Game 7.

40 Yankster   ~  Oct 10, 2009 10:58 am

[0] Best recap today

Bad calls are a historic part of baseball.

I'm not saying we need to have them, but there's something valuable that comes from seeing great players respond to an unfair world. I don't see perfect calls at work, and I don't for a minute think we can make the world perfect.

And you can't take bad calls out of baseball. The minors and little leaguers will get bad calls and won't have any models for how to deal with it. Luckily, instead, they have Mauer, who, faced with a brutally unfair call, swallowed his bile and got his bat on a tough pitch. After the game, he showed a lot of class by saying that one never knows how things will turn out recognizing, I'm sure, that the world would be horrified at the call, no matter what he said, and that the call was, at least a little, exculpatory for player's role in the game's outcome.

There's always an instinct to regulate us into a more perfect world, but until we can make that world in real life, I think there's something humbling about keeping human weakness front and center in a game that as Jeter says "is about failure."

41 weeping for brunnhilde   ~  Oct 10, 2009 11:13 am

[31] "Here's to you, Mr. Robertson!"


42 mehmattski   ~  Oct 10, 2009 11:14 am

[40] Actually the message it sends to the youth comes from the umpires, that it's okay to be bad at your job-- you're only human! And it's okay to settle for imperfection for the sake of tradition, instead of instituting a reasonable policy for catching mistakes and making everything more fair. Sure, life isn't fair, but shouldn't we be making every little effort we can to march towards fairness?

As for not learning the model of how to respond to bad calls, as I said [36] tennis has the best instant replay policy going, and we still get Serena Williams' classy display in this year's US Open.

43 Evil Empire   ~  Oct 10, 2009 11:31 am

[16] OldYanksFan I agree with you on replay somewhat but you're dead wrong that Giambi was safe on the flip play by Jeter in 2001.

If he was safe -- or there was controversy about it -- I would think the announcers would've debated it and I don't think it would be such a revered play. We see the Maier play all the time on highlight reels and everyone agrees it was a bogus homerun, but I can't recall anyone ever suggesting Giambi was safe.

It was a close play ---- I assuming you are arguing that it was a tie and that goes to the runner --- but Jorge got him.

Also, let's assume there's replay. A play on the field (in the NFL) can only be overturned if there is "incontrovertible visual evidence". There is a presumption of correctness with the call.

So last night's call gets reversed, but there's no way that there was "incontrovertible visual evidence" that Giambi was safe (particularly when I've seen the replay over and over and over again) and he was out. Even if the play got replayed he's out.

44 Jersey   ~  Oct 10, 2009 11:35 am

[0] Money writeup, Cliff. Money.

45 Evil Empire   ~  Oct 10, 2009 11:40 am

Let's remember a few things about the bad call last night

*** The Twins would've gotten a run if Kubel singled, but what if it changed the entire next at bat and the pitches? Maybe Marte walks Kubel and it's 1st and 2nd just like it was...Is there a guarantee that Mauer scores on Kubel's hit? Is there a guarantee that the next hitter, who singled, doesn't walk or strike out?

*** The Twins can bitch but they had bases loaded with no one out. They came away empty. Sorry. Bad calls are part of the game and a team must react to the bad call to recover.

*** If you disagree with my first point and assume that Kubel gets a base hit EXACTLY like he did, then fine, but that means Tex still ties the game on his homer, right? Then red-hot Arod comes up, no?

46 mehmattski   ~  Oct 10, 2009 11:47 am

There's no guarantee about anything happening in the inning. But there is Run Scoring Probability, and it says that there are only so many combinations of bases/outs in an inning. And given the two following scenarios, which would you pick:

1. Runner on Second, no outs.
2. Runner on First, no outs.

The umpire is not vindicated by the fact that the Twins loaded the bases anyway. He completely changed the whole makeup of the inning with his blown call. I would say the same thing even if the next three twins hitters hit home runs, or if they all struck out. If the ump had made the right call, the inning would have been different. I'm not saying the Twins would have definitely scored, but the inning would have definitely been different.

47 Evil Empire   ~  Oct 10, 2009 11:57 am

[46] I agree with you, but teams that get a bad call have to respond. If that happened to the Yanks I'd want us to shake if off and score anyway.

48 51cq24   ~  Oct 10, 2009 11:57 am

[43] giambi was clearly out. he should have slid.

i agree that baseball needs to clean up its calls. but what i hate is implementing it step by step. it's absurd that we only have replay available on home run calls, but calls that can impact the game just as much can't be reviewed. if we go to replays, or computer umps, it has to be everything together, including balls and strikes.

49 The Hawk   ~  Oct 10, 2009 12:02 pm

Ha, I actually just waded through most of the 1300+ comments from last night. Around 600 it got particularly interesting, then again in the mid-700s.

Anyway I was never too worried in this game. First of all, I thought they'd win the series even if they lost the game. Second, I figured they had a chance in the bottom of the ninth. Third, I was drinking.

I loved seeing Robertson and Cervelli - the "next generation"(?) - getting out of that jam. During which the Twins froze on that liner to Teixeira. Exactly the thing Gardner should have done on Damon's line-out. Terrible mistake there, but otherwise I loved the deployment of Gardner, one reason why he's better kept on the bench.

A-Rod's performance thus far has been impressive. I feel positive about it, but assuming the Yanks advance, isn't anyone a little worried that this ends up being a repeat of 2004? He's certainly gotten the monkey off his bat, so to speak, but a small part of me wants to withhold judgment till we see the ALCS. At any rate that home run was just awesome.

The ump's mistake on the "foul" ball was egregious, but kind of like Holliday's error, subsequent events render it less than earth-shattering. For one thing, Mauer got on base. Then beyond that, the Twins still loaded the bases with no outs and couldn't score! So yes - horrible call, and you don't want the ump's screw-ups determining the outcome, but I think the Twins overcame that mistake, only to sink their own battleship.

Marte was horrible. I don't really blame Girardi for bringing him in there too much. If he's on the roster, he should be used. Otherwise, don't put him on the roster. In fact - don't put him on the roster.

I wasn't too happy to see Hughes and Rivera give up those runs.

Oh and Posada has really become noticeably problematic behind the plate. Maybe he shouldn't have talked so much about Burnett/Molina because it ended up shining an unfortunate spotlight on his own evidently declining skills.

50 Rich   ~  Oct 10, 2009 12:49 pm

Damon showed why he probably shouldn't be re-signed and certainly not for more than one year under any circumstances.

51 OldYanksFan   ~  Oct 10, 2009 1:12 pm

The issue of the blown call is not what would have happened after... which we of course dont know (unless you have a wormhole into parallel universe 2,948H-3/2). If you let your kid play in traffic, it's a bad idea, even if he/she comes out of it unscathed. Blown calls have no redeeming value. Yeah... if tough things don't kill you, they make you stronger. Beating Cancer seems to have made Lester stronger. But given the choice, I'll pass.. thank you.

Much of life is about problem solving, from which socks to wear today, to how to deal with a soured marriage, to how to we feed the world's poor. Everyday, we are face 100's of problems, from the miniscule to the important.

As mehmattski says in [42], dealing and fixed problems is a great deal about what live on earth is about. Parents teach it, teachers teach it, Gurus teach it. Ya know... the difficult we do easily, the impossible takes a little longer. Who knows, maybe if we can get the bugs out of baseball, we can't turn our attention towards government next.

52 OldYanksFan   ~  Oct 10, 2009 1:14 pm

dealing and FIXING problems....
(really... my spelling and proofreading skills are borken).

53 OldYanksFan   ~  Oct 10, 2009 1:16 pm

Olney on ESPN:
Instant replay must be expanded … immediately

54 FreddySez   ~  Oct 10, 2009 1:17 pm

I can just imaging Tony Tarasco on his couch somewhere watching the top of the 11th. Probably spit a mouthful of popcorn all over the living room.

"Honey! Come in here! See? See? This is what I'm talking about! Goddamit! You gotta see this! Where are you? Honey?!? Shit."

55 Rich   ~  Oct 10, 2009 1:20 pm

[53] Would that include balls and strikes? If not, why not?

56 weeping for brunnhilde   ~  Oct 10, 2009 2:00 pm

[49] I didn't like the runs being given up either (of course!), but in fairness, I think Minnesota earned them. They really shortened up their swings (the first guy, I was noticing, actually choked up!) and were rewarded for it. Mo did leave a pitch out over the plate, which wasn't good, but again, it was mostly just a nice little piece of hitting.

Devastating as it was, I can live with it for those reasons.

57 thelarmis   ~  Oct 10, 2009 2:22 pm

[18] you got Chai !!! yes, Moms rule...especially mine - she's the greatest!!! : )

58 thelarmis   ~  Oct 10, 2009 2:34 pm

[16] giambi was OUT !!! out, out, out. a million times out!

i composed a tune called "The Flip", a few years back. but it wasn't just about that play - it also had to do w/ a "flip" technique i used on the bass pedal and a tribute to my man Hank Mobley, who had an album (and song) called "The Flip". : )

59 thelarmis   ~  Oct 10, 2009 2:37 pm

[59] Ms. O - i LOVE the use of "douchelord". you fit it into our lexicon here seamlessly. i also love the word "egregious" and "penultimate", which Cliff uses a lot. my two favorite (non-curse) words!

"beer", is a close third ; )

looks like there's a new thread and i was late to this party. what else is new...

and forget about handedness, i hope Brew-ney replaces Marte if we make it the LCS...

60 thelarmis   ~  Oct 10, 2009 2:37 pm

[59] shoulda linked to [19] for Ms. O.


(ah, nobody will see the end of this thread anyway...)

61 NickL   ~  Oct 10, 2009 2:38 pm

great ballgame; but, for me, significantly spoiled by the call.

balls and strikes are something that can even out of the course of the ball game, and I didn't see an anti-Yankee bias from the home plate ump so much as the borderline incompetence so common in recent seasons. (in general, I view ALL claims of home plate ump bias as HIGHLY suspect, due to the sheer number of calls and the way the human mind works--I'd need a graphic with every pitch, and a ratio of 3-1 or so favoring one team, before I'd even consider such a claim)

bad calls in the field, however: considerably less likely to even out. and that call was as bad as everyone's said. if I were a Twinkies fan, I like to think that I'd be taking the high road and cursing my team for all the baserunners left on (or maybe cursing Nathan for being a choking dog who can't close in the post-season, check the guy's splits!) but as a Yankees fan, I don't want to win that way.

adding fair/foul replay would be so easy. require a managerial challenge, limit the total number if you want, award a ground rule double if a ball was incorrectly called foul.

but really, I'm not sure this is about replay. this is about increasingly incompetent umps who are also increasingly interested in throwing players out for dubious reason, developing personal strike zones and personal gestures, and who generally seem to think the the fans in some way care about them and their antics.

what about relegation? make it so umps get sent down to the minors, send the worst 10% down every year? as it is, it seems like umps get to the bigs and they're here to stay; players have to perform or they get sent down.......

62 Evil Empire   ~  Oct 10, 2009 2:48 pm

OLY if you want instant replay where does it end? Tell you what, the Twins shouldn't have scored 2 runs in game one because the homeplate umpire squeezed CC. Therefore, I want instant replay on every single play. The games will be a little longer but we'll all know the calls are right...

Who are you to draw the line on where replay ends by the way?

63 Evil Empire   ~  Oct 10, 2009 2:53 pm

[53] If the Yanks got screwed on a call I doubt Olney would write that

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"This ain't football. We do this every day."
--Earl Weaver