So who’s to fault in the Dewayne Wise Foul Ball-Gate? Not the fans, though the Daily News, which headlined its story “Fans in Stands Conspire to Help Wise Stump Ump.” The fans didn’t have time to conspire to do anything; everyone reacted with complete spontaneity (what are they supposed to do, help the umpire do his job?).
Not Dewayne Wise, who seemed as surprised as anyone at the “Out” call on the foul hit by Cleveland’s Jack Hannahan,
“What am I supposed to do?” Wise asked, Wisely.
Exactly, what was he supposed to do? Umpire Mike DiMurio had already made his call, and he was right on top of the play. Again, it wasn’t up to Wise to help DiMurio do his job.
Now, clearly, DiMurio could have saved himself a great deal of
embarrassment if he had recourse to instant replay.
On the other hand, he could have a lot of time, ink and kept himself
from being the butt of a thousand jokes if he had simply asked – well,
as an umpire, he didn’t have to ask but could have demanded – to see the
ball. Let’s put it this way: counting DiMurio, Wise, the fans who were
right there, and the millions watching on TV, DiMurio was the only one
who didn’t know where the ball was. And he didn’t seem particularly
anxious to find out.
That said, isn’t the baseball media going a little nuts over this
one? ESPN devoted the first 9 minutes on their highlight show to arguing
about it. In the New York Times today, Zach Schonbrun writes “The
serial effects of such plays during the course of a game can only be
hypothesized.” Well then, let’s hypothesize.
At the time of Hannahan’s foul pop, the score was 5-0 Yanks, 2 out in
the 7th with an Indians runner at 3rd. Hannahan is what is generously
described has a “light” hitter; he’s batting .256 this year with 3 home
runs in 125 at-bats. If he had gotten an extra chance, a fair person
would have to concede that his odds of hitting a home run were pretty
remote. On the other hand, if he got a simple base hit and made the
score 5-1, let’s remember that the Yankees had both Dave Robertson and
Rafael Soriano available.
Hannahan then got himself tossed for bitching about the play. So,
when his replacement, Jose Lopez, came to bat in the 9th and because the
score was 6-0 instead of 6-1 or 6-3 or whatever Hannahan might have
made it if he’d had a second chance, Lopez got to bat against an
inferior pitcher, Cory Wade instead of Robertson or Soriano. (Though
Soriano came on with 2 outs to close it out.)
So, I’d have to say that Cleveland got a pretty good deal here, even
if they did get shafted on the call. But I’m just hypothesizin.’