Umps’ calls: Yankee win one, lose one

It would be nice to watch a game once in a while that did not have a questionable call or two by an umpire. In the age of high definition television, umpires are under even more scrutiny, which they should be.

There were a couple of more examples in the early going Saturday at Angel Stadium. In one case, the Yankees may have caught a break. In another case, they got hosed.

Brett Gardner flirted with a home run to right field with two out in the third inning and settled for a run-scoring triple. TV replays indicated that a fan leaning over the railing may have interfered with the ball that affected Josh Hamilton’s play on the carom. That was the argument of Angels manager Mike Scioscia.

On interference, Gardner would have had to stop at second with an automatic double and Chris Stewart, who had scored from first base on the hit, would have had to go back to third. Scoscia lost his beef. Replays from various angles were inconclusive, but there was no checking by the umpires because that is restricted to home run calls, and there was not a question about whether Gardner’s ball was a homer.

A more conclusive replay was that of a steal attempt of third base by Ichiro Suzuki, who doubled with one out in the fourth. With Thomas Neal at the plate, Ichiro broke for third and appeared to have the base stolen, but umpire Manny Gonzalez ruled otherwise.

Yanks manager Joe Girardi, who had a perfect view of the play from his dugout perch, argued the call but was told the ball beat the runner. Heck, we all knew that. The question was whether third baseman Alberto Callaspo placed the tag on Suzuki before he reached the bag, which he did not. The throw to third from catcher Hank Conger was in the dirt, causing Callaspo to raise his glove to catch it on a short hop. The replay clearly showed that Ichiro’s right foot was on the bag when Callaspo tagged him near the waist.

I am not suggesting more replays, which would only serve to delay games that already take place on a snail’s pace. But can the umps get the obvious calls right? Please?

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