Edding’s Blunder Leads to Questions
I have taken a few days and still I am upset and angry at the events thgat led to the Rays losing their sunday contest to the Chicago White Sox. O do not have a problem losing a game to sportsmanship and the course of a game playing out under normal situations. But whenever A J Pierzenski is in a game, it is never normal.
Case in point is the Sunday contest where Pierzenski and his umpire friend, Doug Edding again came into national exposure on a TBS telecast.
As most people know by now, Eddings was the unlucky home plate umpire during the White Sox versus the L A Angels Game 2 of the AL championship series. That was the game where Pierzenski was called out on a swinging strike that “apparently” hit the ground before Angels catcher Josh Paul caught it.
Paul tossed the ball towards the mound, which is customary after a strikeout to end the inning. Pierzenski did not hear a vocal third strike call by Eddings and ran towards first as if it was a strikeout, passed ball situation. Eddings had not vocally let it be known that he had judged that the ball hit the ground before it hit Paul’s mitt and never signaled directly the strikeout.
Pierzenski was awarded first base, and the series began to unfold rapidly from that point for the Angels. The White Sox went on to win the AL Pennant and deposae of the Houston Astros in 4 games to win the World Series.
Back to Sunday’s contest, Pierzenski lead off with a single to centerfield for the White Sox in thebottom of the 10th inning. Pierzenski then tagged up after Carlos Quentin’s fly out to center when Rays centerfielder B J Upton held onto the ball in the outfield. Peirzenski was now in scoring postion for the Sox.
Jermaine Dye then hit a sharp grounder to shortstop that Pierzenski thought was through the hole for a single. He was caught in a rundown between second and thrid base. Rays’ shortstop Jason Bartlett then faked towards AJ and threw to thrid baseman Willy Aybar who was running towards Pierzenski.
A J back -pedaled towards second base and Aybar threw to Jason Bartlett standing on second base. Pierzenski then moved towards the outfield area and in the path of Aybar and stuck out his left elbow to catch Aybar as he ran past Pierzenski. At that moment Pierzenski started to tumble towards the third and second base umpire Doug Edding motions towards second base.
Eddings had determined that Aybar had interfered with Pierzenski’s natural motion towards third and A J was considered safe and awarded third base. The Rays were livid with Bartlett and Aybar in Eddings face before First Base Coach George Hendricks pulled Aybar away from Eddings. Rays Manager Joe Maddon came out and attempted to get Eddings to ask for a umpire conference to review the play, but was overruled by Eddings and the play stood as called on the field.
the play ended up costing the Rays the victory when Alexi Ramirez hit a single into rightfield and Pierzenski strolled home from third with the winning run. After the game Pierzenski was his usual smug self and proclaimed,” First of all, it was bad baserunning on my part,” Pierzynski said. “I shouldn’t have went — horrible baserunning. But I was just looking for somebody to get close enough and luckily he did.”
Eddings had called Aybar for inteference on the play, thrid base umpire Ted Barrett explaned the call. “What Doug ruled at second base was, even though A.J. did kind of stick his arm out to make contact, Aybar was still in his way, so A.J., if he would have turned, he wouldn’t have been able to continue on to third,” said third-base umpire Ted Barrett, who addressed the situation after the game. “So after making the throw, Aybar is no longer in the act of fielding and he can’t obstruct the runner, which is what Doug ruled happened.
“In a rundown, even though A.J. was going back to second, the rule of obstruction during a rundown is he gets his next advanced base and that’s why he was rewarded third base.”
I hate it when a game is decided by a umpire, even if it was a good call. But this call was even worse than the B J Upton situation a few days earlier at home against the Angels. B J’s call did not hinder the final result of the game for either team. But Sunday’s call not only gave the White Sox a win to keep the Rays from sweeping the White Sox, it gave them back first place in the AL Central division.
Games should be decided by the players and not the umpires. The Rays should only have to play 9 men a game instead of 13. A roster lineup plus the umpiring crew can make for a long and exhausting game for the Rays down the stretch. Let’s hope that the men in blue do not have to be the basis of controversy in any more of the Rays games going into this playoff stretch. Conspiracy theories will abound and even simple plays will be examined by fans and the media if anymore “phanthom” calls surface for the team.
Worst part of it all is that now any call Doug Eddings makes the rest of the year will be under a microscope as pertaining to this and the 2002 situation. And Pierzenski, being the toad he is just laughed and stated, “I didn’t think about that until you said it, but I guess it’s ironic,” Pierzynski said. “It’s just a funny coincidence, I guess. Him and I will be linked forever because of that one play and now there are two plays.”
Linked like Oil and Vinegar for a lifetime.